STORM AND STRESS IN NIGERIAN ADOLESCENTS


            Adolescence has been viewed in some societies as a very difficult period of life. To many teenagers adolescence is almost like entering a foreign county without knowing the language, the customs or the culture, only it is worse because the teenager doesn’t even have a guide book (Spriathall and Spinthall, 1977). Being a period of transition, the individual experiences various developmental changes which sometimes are traumatic for him or her.
            Hall (1904) referred to it as a period of storm and stress, while Erikson (1964) saw adolescence as a period of great turbulence when physical, emotional and mental maturity occur at a
tremendous rate such that even the adolescent is often unsure of what is happening to him.
            Erikson (1959) and Spirthall  and Sprinhall (1977) also perceived the period as one of “stress and storm”. This view holds that teenagers status is ambiguous, vague and confused. Adolescent period is viewed generally as a period of heightened emotionality, for developmental reasons, they also feel that adolescence may be a time of peculiar vulnerability to conflict and maladjustment.
            There are indications that Nigerian adolescents are in state of crisis. The disturbing parameters include the rising level of violent deaths resulting from armed robbery incidents and alarming rate of alcohol and drug abuse, low literacy and mathematical competence as seen in their performance in the internationally moderated West African school certificate examinations, the prevalence of various forms of examination malpractices, increase in school drop-out rates, high incidence of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDs.
            For this sad situation blames and exchanged among the main agents of socialization of the child- the parents, the school and the society.
            But there seems to be a controversy on the characterization of adolescent development as a period of storm and stress, even though there is a general agreement that the period presents special developmental problems that the adolescent must resolve.
            For instance, Uka (1973) contends that the adolescent period may or may not be a critical period depending on the culture where youngsters find themselves. Whereas Siaan & Ugwuegbu (1988) perceived it as a period in life when the brightest and the best of every individuals abilities and talents become manifest and could be discovered and almost gainfully utilized for achievement of life goals.
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