The impact of Social Support on the Psychological Well-being of Students In The University Of Buea
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The impact of Social Support on the Psychological Well-being of Students In The University Of Buea
This chapter seeks to examine some aspect of the study which includes background to the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, and significance of the study, scope or delimitation and definition of terms.
Chapter two will consist of review of related literature which will be under the following sub headings; theoretical, conceptual and empirical review.
Chapter three will consist of the methodology that is the method that was use by the researcher to collect and analyze data on the topic.
This will include the research design, area of the study, sample of the population, instrument for data collection and the method of data analysis.
Chapter four will consist of findings and discussion. Chapter five will deal with the discussions of the findings, summary, conclusion, recommendations, limitation and suggestion for further research.
Background to the study
Social support is the perception and actuality that one is cared for, has assistance available from other people and most popularly, that one is part of a supportive social network.
These supportive resources can be emotional (nurturance), Informational(advise), or companionship (sense of belonging); tangible (financial assistance), intangible (personal advice).
Support can come from many sources such as family, friends, peers, neighbors, teachers, organizations (Racino2006). Social support plays an important role in managing psychological problems. When students receive social support, it helps them to cope with everyday life stressor and lighten the burden of academic work load, leading to psychological stability and soundness.
(Cutrona and Suhr) categorizes social support into five aspects such as; informational ,emotional, esteem, social network support, and tangible support .These supports can come from peers, parents, teachers..
Research has shown that social support plays an important role in managing psychological problems.
Lack of social support has been found to be one of the factors that leads to many psychological problems among students.
Social support from family, friends, peers and others have been found helpful to reduce the impact of psychological problems among students(Calvete and Connor smith,2006).
Villanova and Bownas(1984)for example found that Social support could help students to cope with everyday life stressor and lighten the burden of academic workload.
Without enough support from family, friends and significant others, they would be in trouble and are vulnerable to depression, stress and anxiety.
This finding was supported by Dollete.et al(2004) who found that social support could act as a protective factor that could decrease psychological problems among students such as stress.
A study by Wentzel(1998)found that social support provides motivational influences on student’s performance.
Deficits in social support have been shown to be related to many psychological problems such as depression, loneliness, and anxiety (Eskin, 2003).
Elliot and Gramling (1990) found that social support helps the students to lessen depression, anxiety, and stress.
They also found that social support could help the students manage and lessen their psychological problems. Thus, this study is to understand how social support could play its role in managing psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, and stress etc.
Conceptually, social support refers to the experience of being valued, respected, cared about, and loved by others who are present in one’s life (Gurung, 2006).
It may come from different sources such as family, friends, teachers, community, or any social groups to which one is affiliated.
Social support can come in the form of tangible assistance provided by others when needed which includes appraisal of different situations, effective coping strategies, and emotional support.
Social support is an element that can help individuals to reduce the amount of stress experienced as well as to help individuals cope better in dealing with stressful situations.
Several studies indicated that supportive contacts correlate negatively with symptoms and psychological disorder such as stress, depression and other psychiatric disorder, and positively correlate with physical and mental health.
A study by Nahid and Sarkis (1994) for example found that social support protects people in life crisis such as bereavement, illness, and other major stress, and moderates the effect of stressors on psychological wellbeing.
Social support has also been recognized to have significant impact on the achievement of the students. Since family and friends are the individuals’ first source of reference, supports from these two sources have been found to give a significant influence on academic achievement (Steinberg and Darling, 1994; Cutrona, 1994).
The support received by the students could help to decrease their psychological problems since they feel that someone is there to help them, thus helping them to perform well in academic life.
By having knowledge on how social support could help students to excel in study and cope with any psychological disturbances, much information could be derived to enhance the amount of support provided.
Psychological wellbeing is described as the quality of a life of a person and it includes what a lay people call “happiness”, “peace”, “fulfillment” and “life satisfaction”. Huppert (2009) opines that psychological wellbeing is about life going well.
It is the combination of feeling good and functioning effectively. Sustainable wellbeing does not require individuals to feel good all the time; the experience of painful emotions (for example, disappointment, failure, grief) is a normal part of life, and being able to manage these negative or painful emotions are essential for long-term wellbeing.
Psychological wellbeing is however, compromised when negative emotions are extreme or last very long and interferes with a person’s ability to function in his or her daily life (Huppert, 2009).
Theoretically, Vygotsky (1896) in his theory of social constructivism, believes that learning and development is a collaborative activity that is individuals need to interact with others to be able to develop cognitively and psychosocially.
Zone of proximal development (ZPD) by Vygotsky is the distance between a student’s ability to perform a task under adult guidance and/or with peer collaboration and the student ability in solving the problem independently.
The zone of proximal development indicates that, there are aspects or areas that students need social support to perform a task This support can come from adult guidance, peer collaboration, parental support and significant others.
Vygotsky focused on the connection between people and the socio cultural context in which they act, support each other by interacting and sharing experiences Vygotsky (1980).
Abraham Maslow hierarchy theory of need(1943) indicates areas in which students need social support through his hierarchy of need pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom.
These needs include physiological needs(food, shelter, money);needs for basic survival, safety needs(personal security, emotional security, financial, health and well-being),social belonging(friendship, intimacy, family),esteem needs(need for respect, recognition, status),self-actualization(accomplishment, realization of potentials).
The first three needs are deficiency needs in which when satisfied, will lead to the growth needs which are esteem and self-actualization (psychological well-being).
According to Brofen brenner ecological theory (1997) the Microsystem provide support to individuals through direct interaction with social agents e.g., parents, peers, and teachers.
The individual is viewed not as a passive recipient of experiences in these settings, but as one who helps construct the setting.
Therefore in order to avoid anxiety, depression or loneliness etc, which makes individuals passive in their environment, we all need to feel accepted and supported by others.
When we are able to develop strong connections with others such as friends, family,team members etc. we are able to cope with distressing situation and become active members in our environment.
Contextually, It has being found that academic adjustment, social adjustment and emotional adjustment are dependent on their abilities in receiving socio-educational support from supportive friends, families, teachers and significant others(Weiner and Smith 1992).
First year students experiences difficulties in adapting or adjusting academically,socially, emotionally, which significantly affect their psychological wellbeing. That’s why first year students are always receive services like;
Orientation during matriculation ceremonies; During matriculation ceremonies, the vice chancellor orientates students on their code of conduct to guide them during their stay on campus; they are made to take oath to be good students, creates their awareness on various campus facilities, etc.
Faculty or departmental orientation; this service provide informational support to facilitate student’s adjustment. That is, they create awareness of campus facilities,where and how to table their problems or solve problems. They also get information on what is expected of them.
Financial support; The institute in an attempt to solve student’s financial problems, gives50,000frs grants to enhance their well-being. Despites all these measures put in place, students still face a lot of psychological problems.
Social support plays an important role in managing psychological problems as it a motivational influence on students’ performance and psychological wellbeing.
Social support (tangible support such as financial and material support and intangible support such as emotional and moral support) could help students to cope with everyday life stressor and lighten the burden of academic workload.
On the contrary, students in the University of Buea do not have adequate social support that lead to many psychological problems among students.
It has been observed that many students drop out of school because of the absence of social support from parents, peers and teacher. The study sought to investigate “The effects of social support on the psychological well-being of students in the University offbeat”.
Main objective of the study
To investigate the effect of social support on the psychological well-being of students in the University of Buea.
To examine the role of parental support on the psychological well-being of students in the University of Buea.
To determine the influence of peer support on the psychological well-being of students in the University of Buea.
To examine the role of teachers’ support on the psychological well-being of students in the University of Buea.
General research question
What is the extent to which social support affect the psychological well-being of students in the University of Buea?
Specific research questions
- To what extent does parental support affect the psychological well-being of students in the University of Buea?
- To what extent does peer support affect the psychological well-being of students in the University of Buea?
- To what extent does teachers’ support affect the psychological well-being of students in the University of Buea?