STRESS MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES AND THEIR INFLUENCE IN ENHANCING DISCIPLINE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ELBURGON DIVISION, NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Educationists are currently paying more attention to the effects of stress on students in relation to school discipline. Inability to cope with stress culminates to indiscipline behaviour that has rocked many schools in Kenya. Stress management strategies are a set of techniques and programme intended to help people experiencing stress to acquire appropriate measures to avert harmful behaviour. The purpose of this study therefore was to determine the influence of these stress management strategies in enhancing students’ discipline in secondary schools in Elburgon Division, Nakuru County, Kenya. The study adopted the correlational research design. A total of 317 students and 14 teacher counsellors were randomly selected. A structured questionnaire with 21 items was used to collect data using a 5 point Likert scale. The responses were converted into scores and added together to form an index of stress management with a Cronbach alpha of .801. Four stress management strategies were assessed, they included: avoiding stressful situations, altering stressful situations, accepting stressful situations that cannot be changed, and adapting a healthy life- style. Six variables were used as indicators of student discipline, they included: medical check-ups, feeding habits, drug abuse, negative experiences, relaxation and physical exercises, and unhealthy relationships. The data collected was analysed using descriptive (Means and frequencies) and inferential statistics (t-test and regression analysis). The mean age of the respondents was 16.9 years. Female students were 54.6 %, while the male were 45.4 %. The female students were found to have a higher level of stress management (mean 4.38) than the male student (mean 4.08) and these differences were statistically significant. The stress management strategies significantly (β=.841, p=.01) enhanced student discipline. Specific strategies significantly (p<.05) influenced discipline as follows: avoiding stressful situations influenced β=.397, adaption of a healthy life style β= .345, acceptance of situations that one cannot change β=.017, and altering the situations β=.016. The study concluded that the application of stress management strategies in secondary schools significantly reduced stress among students and enhanced their discipline. The study recommended that stress management strategies be taught to secondary students to control their stress and enhance their discipline. If the recommendations of this study are applied to secondary school students by teacher counsellors, school administrators and parents, then stress would be minimised and discipline would be enhanced.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Stress management strategies have an enormous influence on enhancement of students’ discipline in the awake of indiscipline, which has become a worldwide phenomenon in institutions of learning dating back to the time of industrial revolution(s) (Baker, 2005). Globally student’s indiscipline has existed, strikes have been witnessed in countries like Britain, USA and France (Robertson, 2010). Students’ disturbances in the institutions of learning are sparked off by various reasons: in 2013 students in Quebec protested against the increase of tuition fees and in the demonstration, one students’ eye was wounded, sporadic acts of violence were witnessed and massive vandalism. A series of school protests in Britain have been reported with the focal point of the demonstrations in London (UNESCO, 2004).

Students’ indiscipline and protests are a social problem in Africa. A study done by Korzbski (2009) in Lagos, discerned that 85 % of the secondary school students protested against the administration for disrupting the school calendar which affected students’ time frame of examination preparations. Scores of students faced off with police and demanded that they must be involved in all decisions and negotiations. These young people are the most vulnerable to stress resulting in a series of destructive behaviour, and discipline problems.

In addition, studies show that there has been numerous students' unrests in most secondary schools in Africa and Kenya. Dondo (2004) holds the view that secondary school students encounter a wide range of stressful events whereby if not well managed, these students may develop or adopt erroneous and destructive coping mechanisms. Since the attainment of independence in Kenya, in 1963, the issue of discipline in secondary schools has periodically been debated and has featured repeatedly in several schools as well as national agendas. Such organizations where these discussions have taken place include National Assembly, Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) and Kenya Secondary School Heads Association among others (MOE, 2008). As noted by Hoberman (2007), life for many young people is a painful tug of war filled with mixed messages and conflicting demands and challenges from inevitable changes within and without them. Melgosa (2009) observes that adolescents are growing up negotiating a path between independence and reliance on others as a tough business that creates serious stress for young people that may lead to destructive behaviour and thus increase in indiscipline cases and endless unrests in secondary schools.

To curb these menaces and to assist the students the government of Kenya (GOK) is currently putting in place several measures with a purpose of curbing the rampant cases of indiscipline in learning institutions. Such measures include changing and revising of administrative structures, building of more schools to ease congestion and increase form one enrolment, double the supervision panels and recruitment of more teachers (MOE, 2006). Also in 2001, corporal punishment was abolished in Kenyan schools as elaborated in the Children Act of 2001. Guidance and counselling was introduced in secondary education sector in 2001 as had been recommended in several education committees, commissions and taskforces appointed to investigate better ways of enhancing students discipline and improvement of quality of education in Kenya.

Many examples of student unrest have occurred in Kenya. In June 2008, there were media reports of over 300 protests in Kenyan secondary school with most of the these cases involving mass destruction of property and loss of life of students from upper secondary school (KIE, 2008).Some 200 teenagers faced criminal charges over the unrests and tens of thousands were sent home (Kigotho, 2013). Mathenge (2006) contends that students of Nairobi Ridgeway’s Academy were forced to suffer severe cold nights as their dormitory was burned by students. In Kenya, education is everything and examinations have a sense of finality. This leads to high levels of stress around the exam period. These cases have been attributed to gaps in stress management strategies among students and within schools. It is believed that school administration is expected to promote and enhance desirable behaviour among students (MOE, 2006).Strikes in secondary schools have been caused by among others stress due to an overloaded curriculum and pressure for academic performance which has been worsened by lack of an effective school guidance and counselling system.

On 3rd June 2013, students of Embu High School demonstrated at 1.30am against suspension of their colleagues due to indiscipline. There was a lot of mass destruction and burning of property before police intervention (Kigotho, 2013).Numerous extreme cases of student destructive behaviours have been attributed to gaps in stress management strategies among students and within schools. It is believed that school administration is solely responsible for levels of students’ discipline. In actual fact, the school administration is expected to promote and enhance desirable behaviour among students (MOE, 2006).

USAID (Kenya 2008) holds the view that school administrators attempt to control students by imposing some forms of punishment to deter maladaptive behaviour that inhibit a smooth learning environment. As observed by Sushita (2004) in support of Mutie and Ndambuki (1999) 78% of punitive measures in secondary schools result to anger, aggressiveness, bitterness and thus deterioration of discipline among students. Wango (2009) articulates that at some point, drastic change of behaviour patterns indicate symptoms of underlying issues or stress that need management or coping skills. These strategies may avert pending thrust of tragedy behaviour in schools. While mainstreaming peer counselling and mediation in Kenyan schools, Onyango (2003) contends that following the unstoppable and inevitable daily demands and challenges affecting the young people in secondary schools, these adolescents are prone and most vulnerable to stress that need proper management strategies in order to mitigate deteriorating levels of discipline in Kenyan secondary schools. This study therefore hopes to determine the influence of stress management strategies on enhancement of students discipline in secondary schools in Elburgon Division, in Nakuru County.

Statement of the Problem
In the light of growing cases of indiscipline in Kenyan secondary schools in quantity and magnitude, stress has been identified as one of the key causes of indiscipline amongst secondary school students. In this regard, the attempts to improve students' discipline has become imperative in all secondary schools. The Government of Kenya has implemented several measures aimed at curbing the increasing cases of indiscipline in learning institutions. These include introduction of prefect’s council in schools, open forums by educational stakeholders and introduction of guidance and counselling departments meant to address stressful issues and their effects in students in all secondary schools. Though this has been done, cases of indiscipline are still in the lime light. However establishment of guidance and counselling services in secondary schools in Elburgon Division seem to have controlled strikes and protests that used to rock the schools in the area in the last one decade. This has necessitated this study to examine the influence of these stress management strategies on the enhancement of students’ discipline in secondary schools in Elburgon Division, Nakuru County, Kenya.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of stress management strategies on the enhancement of students’ discipline in secondary schools in Elburgon Division, Nakuru County, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
This study was guided by the following objectives:

(i) To assess the effectiveness of the stress management strategies (avoiding stressful situations, altering stressful situations, accepting stressful situations that cannot be changed, and adapting a healthy life-style) adopted by secondary school students in Elburgon Division.

(ii) To determine gender differences in the levels of stress management strategies practiced by secondary school students in Elburgon Division

(iii) To investigate the influence of stress management strategies practiced by students in enhancing discipline in secondary schools in Elburgon Division

(iv) To evaluate the role played by teacher counsellors in enhancing stress management strategies among secondary school students in Elburgon Division

Research Questions/Hypothesis
This study attempted to respond to three study questions and tested one hypothesis as follows:

(i) How effective are the stress management strategies adopted by secondary school students in Elburgon Division?

(ii) Are there gender differences in the levels of stress management strategies adopted by secondary school students in Elburgon Division?

(iii) H01: There is no statistically significant influence of stress management strategies practiced by students on their discipline in secondary school in Elburgon Division.

(iv) Do teacher counsellors enhance student discipline through the stress management programme?

Significance of the Study
It is anticipated that this study may provide information on the influence of stress management strategies on enhancement of students’ discipline in secondary schools. The ministry of Education may see need to encourage the use of stress management strategies in addressing indiscipline issues in education sector.

The findings of this study may assist school guidance and counselling units to apply the stress management strategies in their daily encounter with stress related issues among students. School administrators may benefit from the findings of this study by adopting stress management strategies to curb indiscipline in their schools. The findings of this study may also benefit parents who would better understand the problem behaviour among their children and employ stress management strategies to correct undesired behaviour. Classroom and even subject teachers may gain from the findings of this study by employing stress management strategies to create less stressful environment. Adolescents social and behaviour correction centres may also gain from the findings of this study equipping their clients with stress management strategies thus attaining incredible behaviour change for a disciplined and responsible young generation.

Scope of the Study
The study was carried out in Elburgon Division, Nakuru County, Kenya. It covered only secondary schools in the area on investigating the influence of stress management strategies on enhancement of students' discipline in secondary schools. In the context of this study, stress management strategies adopted in Elburgon secondary schools were examined, gender difference in stress management strategies in secondary schools and the role of school guidance counsellors were put into consideration in the establishment of the influence of stress management strategies in enhancement of students' discipline in Elburgon.

Limitations of the Study
The limitations to this study, included:

(i) The results of the study were limited to Elburgon Division secondary school students only and may not be generalized to other areas unless with caution.

(ii) Some students’ unwillingness to disclose about their experiences when under stress. This was delimited by promising them confidentiality.

Assumptions of the Study
This study was carried out under the following assumptions:

i) Respondents would provide free and honest responses.

ii) The schools under study have knowledge and skills of applying stress management strategies as measures to avert indiscipline in their schools.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 79 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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