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LOCUS OF CONTROL, COPING STYLES AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS (A STUDY OF DEPORTEES IN LAGOS METROPOLIS)

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LOCUS OF CONTROL, COPING STYLES AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS (A STUDY OF DEPORTEES IN LAGOS METROPOLIS)

ABSTRACT

The study examined locus of control, coping styles and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis, a case study of deportees in Lagos Metropolis. The study employed the survey design and the purposive sampling technique to select 50 deportees in Lagos Metropolis. The deportees were selected across all the local government areas in Lagos Metropolis. A well-constructed questionnaire, which was adjudged valid and reliable, was used for collection of data from the respondents. The data obtained through the administration of the questionnaires was analyzed using the Pearson correlation analysis.

The results showed that: Rotter’s Locus of Control Scale has been effective among deportees in Lagos Metropolis. Parker’s Coping Styles Scale is potent among deportees in Lagos Metropolis. Kessler’s Psychological Distress Scale is functional among deportees in Lagos Metropolis. There is a positive significant relationship between locus of control and psychological distress (r=0.772; p<0.05). There is a positive and significant relationship exists between coping styles and psychological distress (r=.896; p<0.05). There is a potent significant relationship between Locus of control and coping styles are not significant predictors of psychological distress (r=0.772; p<0.05).

The study concludes that there is a relationship among locus of control, coping styles and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos metropolis. The study suggested; Internal control should be employed by the government, to ensure that individual travelling documentation are safeguarded; Government should arrange for travelling insurance cover for a lesser price to travellers in order to prevent the risk of loss of any travellers; Government officials should lead by example. Everyone should adhere to laid down rules and regulations in the travelling process; Government should ensure that qualitative control techniques are in place; Government should ensure locus of control to reduce psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis; Government should ensure coping styles are in other to reduce psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis.

INTRODUCTION

1.1                                                BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The concept of locus of control was introduced by Rotter in 1966. Locus of control refers to the control over reinforcement attribution process. He formulated it as general and one-dimensional: internality, understood as the degree of control over reinforcements an individual perceives. Scholars such as Wallace (2000) and Javier (2010) have broadly confirmed that the utility of this construction, but a few modifications has been made. Firstly, a dimension for internality and another for externality, however, external locus of control has been divided between the actions of powerful others and chance (luck). On the other hand, in terms of generality, Javier (2010) provided an in depth examination of locus of control conceptual evolution by proposing three levels of analysis namely, general as conceived by Rotter (1966) as stable and consistent, the intermediate level, covering the concrete domains of life such as health, work or interpersonal relations and the specific level, which refers to a particular situation and specific behavior.

Internal locus of control has been linked to better adjustment to disorder, less pain and lower disability level, a better quality of life, more adaptive coping styles and higher likelihood of being productive (Rapaport, etal, 2005). In contrast, chance locus of control and pain locus of control are usually associated with more serious pain and more interference of pain in daily activity including decreased physical activity and abuse of medication. Furthermore, people among whom chance locus of control prevails use more maladaptive coping styles such as catastrophising (Javier, 2010).

Coping styles according to Sprah (2003) is a complex mental problems by which a person deals with stress, solves problems and makes decisions. It is an emotional, cognitive and behavioral response of a person to an ailment. Coping styles involves at least two stages: confronting (is this something to bother about) and managing (what can I do about it) (Lilijana, 2008). With different aspects of illness or disability, since every person is a unique in their own way, emotional, cognitive and behavioral response can vary a lot and can occasionally become unpredictable in the same person.  Undoubtedly, stress causes considerable psychological distress in patients, deportees, families, and sometimes health officers care for them. Some socially determined problems also augment distress in deportees as well. Besides, unpleasant symptoms such as pain, nausea, fatigue, financial problems and problems relating to employment, housing, child care, family worries and existential doubt also occur.

Psychological distress as viewed by Soublin (2007) refers to uneasy feelings of anxiety or depression in response to physical, spiritual or emotional demand or a combination of multiple demands that results in short-term or long-term harm. Psychological distress is ensuring from an important demand (stressor) and inadequate resources to mitigate any potential harm, loss or threat. Psychological distress is a general term that covers sadness, frustration, anxiety, depression and a number of negative mood states (Lazarus, 2007). It is therefore a multidimensional and complex process that is sensitive to both the environment and the personality of individual.

Wallace (2000) notes that people with internal locus of control generally adhere more to health regimes whereas more externally oriented individuals are less likely to engage in health protective behaviors, accept responsibility for their success and failure, tends to forget failure quickly. People with internal locus of control are more confident, have a higher level of esteem and they believe that outcome is directly the result of one’s behavior. On the other hand, people with external locus of control tend to face a great deal of psychological distress because they attribute their failures to luck and predestination. Moreso, people with external locus of control are more prone to depression, feel helpless and hopeless and exert less reinforcement following failure (Yucel, 2008).

Newman (2005) identified two kinds of coping strategies in relation to psychological distress namely adaptive and maladaptive. To him, adaptive response to psychological distress is a response intended to eliminate or change the distress as experienced by persons. Constructive coping is similar to adaptive response, because individuals exert great effort to combat with stressful events. Adaptive coping can equally be seen as strategies that enable persons to enjoy good physical and mental health. On the other hand, maladaptive coping are those strategies that are detrimental to the wellbeing of an individual, which adversely affects his performance and effectiveness (Newman, 2005). In response to distress, deportees adopt several coping strategies. Studies have identified several coping styles such as humor, acceptance, planning, exercise, positive reinterpretation (Yucel, 2008). Other studies have linked alcohol and other drug use to coping with psychological distress (Shegie, 2009).

1.2                                                       STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

For long, attention of scholars have focused more on psychological distress experienced by patients thereby paying less attention to a set of people – deportees. Deportees face a great deal of psychological distress as their hopes and aspirations have been battered, their self-esteem has been abused and most of them see themselves as failures. This has however created a big service and information gap on the nexus among locus of control, coping strategies and psychological distress experienced by deportees. Few researchers have studied the relationship among the subject matter on Nigerian population. Hence, the study was necessitated to cover the vacuum by exploring the relationship among locus of control, coping styles and psychological distress by prioritizing on deportees.

1.3                                                       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to examine the relationship among locus of control, coping styles and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos metropolis.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To examine the relationship between locus of control and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis.
  2. To examine the relationship between coping styles and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis.
  3. To examine locus of control and coping styles as predictors of psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis.

1.4                                     RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The questions of interest raised in the study are:

  1. What is the relationship between locus of control and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis?
  2. What is the relationship between coping styles and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis?
  3. Will locus of control and coping styles predict psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis.

1.5                                RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Based on the objectives of the research, three hypotheses are hereby developed to guide study in order to make valid conclusion. They are stated as follows:

  1. H01:   There is no significant relationship between locus of control and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis.
  2. H02:   There is no significant relationship between coping styles and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis.
  3. H03: Locus of control and coping styles are not significant predictors of psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis.

1.6                               SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is believed that this study will be of immense benefits to students, psychologists, sociologists, counselors, mental health workers, medical practitioners and future researchers. The study through its findings will adequately improve the mental capability, coping styles management, cognitive development and psychological wellbeing of the deportees which will further lead to improvement in all facets of their life. Students wishing to undertake research in this line will equally find this study invaluable.

1.7                       SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY               

The study is delineated to examine the relationship among locus of control, coping styles and psychological distress among deportees in Lagos Metropolis. During the course of carrying out the study, several limitations were encountered:

Time Constraint:  A relatively short time was given to conduct a study of this magnitude in addition to other academic commitment of the researcher.

Unwillingness of the Respondents:  Majority of the respondents were unwillingly to participate in the survey because they feel that is an intrusion to their personal life.

Nevertheless, a robust and fact-finding study was carried out.

1.8      METHODOLOGY

The study adopted the survey research design and the expos-facto design in conjunction with the judgmental sampling technique to select 160 deportees in Lagos Metropolis. Three research instruments namely the Rotter’s Locus of Control Scale, Parker’s Coping Styles Scale and Kesseler’s Psychological Distress Scale were used to collect data from the sampled deportees. Furthermore, the descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient and analysis of variance were used to analyze the collected data at 0.05 alpha values.

1.9                                          ASSUMPTIONS

The study was premised on the axiom that

  1. All respondents are deportees residing in Lagos Metropolis.
  2. All the information obtained from the respondents is true, accurate and genuine.

1.10                      OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

Coping Styles: This refers to complex mental problems by which a person deals with stress, solves problems and makes decisions.

Deportees:  Someone who is evicted from a foreign country.

Locus of Control:   This refers to the degree to which people believe that they have control over the outcome of events in their lives, as opposed to external forces beyond their control.

Psychological Distress: This refers to uneasy feelings of anxiety or depression in response to physical, spiritual or emotional demand or a combination of multiple demands that results in short-term or long-term harm.


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