A support programme for conduct-disordered adolescents in schools
Ngcana, Nomndeni Nomasonto Margaret
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The aims of this research were to investigate, by means of both literature review and empirical research, the incidence and manifestation of conduct disorders among adolescents growing up in the Vaal Triangle townships, with a view to suggesting a psycho-social intervention programme to help them learn life-skills which will decrease their susceptibility to depression and anxiety. According to the literature findings, depression and anxiety co-occur with conduct disorders during adolescence. An intervention progamme can therefore help these learner adolescents develop effective coping skills to help them deal with environmental factors that cause stress, depression and anxiety. The findings from the literature review revealed that adolescence is the highest risk period for the onset of conduct disorders such as, inter alia, substance use disorders, aggressiveness, destruction of property, defiance of authority, frightening and disturbing of adults, fighting, bullying, lying, destructiveness and defiance. The conduct problems also include the more or less troublesome and involuntary behaviours commonly associated with adolescence such as tempertantrums, bouts of screaming and crying, surliness and episodes of commanding or pestering behaviour. The co-occurrence of depression, anxiety and conduct disorders in adolescents was, according to various researchers, also associated with more severe alcohol and drug-related problems, more prolonged depressive and anxiety episodes and increased frequency of behavioural problems, more severe impairment in interpersonal and academic competencies, increased utilization of mental health services, as well as elevated risk of suicide. The literature also revealed that the period of adolescence is also marked by conflicting feelings about security and independence, rapid physical changes, developing sexuality, peer pressure and self-consciousness. This becomes a time of rapid physiological and psychological changes, of intensive re -adjustment to the family, school, work and social life and of preparation for adult roles. These changes are noticeable for their conduct disorders and behavioural accompaniments, and problems arising at this time may attract attention because the adolescent"s conduct and behaviour become obtrusive in the school and the home or elsewhere and evoke a sense of urgency for response. Effective support programmes such as individual educational support and group educational support were regarded by the literature as having the efficacy to prevent the development of conduct disorders. The empirical research findings revealed that adolescent participants who formed the population sample of this research were aggressive; characterized by risky behaviour such as staying with friends until very late at night and coming to school carrying a knife and bullying other children in class; deceitfulness or theft which manifested in the form of stealing from other children's schoolbags, stealing food and pens, and lying; serious violation of rules such as being disruptive in class, bunking school, and not coming to school regularly, conflict with parents, educators and others which manifests in the form of always being in trouble for beating up other learners in class, especially those that are younger, and being rebellious at home, mood disruptions such as bursting in anger, aggressive, being happy one moment and then angry and sad the next, and poor performance at school resulting in failing grades. Recommendations for educational practice and further research were made.
- ETD@Vaal Triangle Campus