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Title                                                                                                                        Page

Title page        -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           i

Certification -  -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           ii

Dedication-      -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           iii

Acknowledgement-     -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           iv

Table of Contents        -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           v

List of Tables  -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           vii

Abstract-          -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           viii


1.1 Background of the Study  -           -           -           -           -           -           -           1

1.2 Statement of Problem        -           -           -           -           -           -           -           12

1.3 Purpose of the Study         -           -           -           -           -           -           -           14

1.4 Significance of the Study  -           -           -           -           -           -           -           14


2.1 Theoretical Framework     -           -           -           -           -           -           -           16

2.2 Psychoanalytic Theory of Sexuality (Sexual Orientation)            -           -           23

2.3 Theory of Personal Functioning    -           -           -           -           -           -           25

2.4 Empirical Review -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           28

2.5 Research Hypotheses        -           -           -           -           -           -           -           36

2.6 Operational Definition of Terms   -           -           -           -           -           -           37


3.1 Design       -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           38

3.2 Setting       -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           39

3.3 Participants            -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           39

3.4 Instruments            -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           39

3.5 Procedures -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           42

3.6 Statistics    -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           43



5.1 Discussion of Findings     -           -           -           -           -           -           -           47

5.2 Conclusion            -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           48

5.3 Implications/Recommendations    -           -           -           -           -           -           49

5.4 Limitations of the Study   -           -           -           -           -           -           -           51

5.5 Suggestions for Further Studies    -           -           -           -           -           -           51

References       -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           52

Appendices     -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           61



Table 1:Mean showing the influence of personal functioning and sexual

            preference on emotional adjustment among undergraduates. -           -           44

Table 2:       Summary of 2x2 ANOVA Table showing the main and interaction

Effects of personal functioning and sexual preference on emotional

adjustment among undergraduates.     -           -           -           -           -           45


This study examined the influence of sexual preference and personal functioning on emotional adjustment among undergraduates. In determining the influence of sexual preference and personal functioning on emotional adjustment among undergraduates, three scales were used. They include; Masculinity Femininity Scale (MFS) developed by Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen & Kaemmer (1989), Emotional Adjustment Scale developed by Butcher et al., (I989) and Personal Functioning Scale (PFS) developed by Koha, Brien-Wood, Pickering & Decicco, (2003) were the instruments used for data collection.  Two hundred and seventy-three (273) University of Uyo undergraduates consisting of 156 males and 117 females were selected using purposive sampling technique to participate in the study. The participant's age ranged from 18 to 35 years with a mean age of 26.50 years. The study utilized a cross-sectional design and a 2-way analysis of variance was used for data analysis.  Results revealed that personal functioning had a significant influence on emotional adjustment among undergraduates [F (1,272) = 4.039; P.>.05]. Results also revealed that sexual preference had an influence on emotional adjustment among undergraduates. [F (1,272) = 83.85; P<. 05]. Results further revealed that personal functioning and sexual preference did not jointly exert significant influence on emotional adjustment among undergraduates [F (1,272) = .53; P>.05]. Implication, recommendations and suggestions for further studies were made in line with the findings.




1.1 Background of the Study

            Adjustment is a never ending process. Every living being of the world struggles to adjust in the surrounding atmosphere for survival. Human beings are not apart from this continuous process. In the course of different stages of human development adolescence period is one of the most problematic period regarding social, emotional, sexual and academic adjustment. During this period adolescent enter puberty and develop individual identity. They start to recognize their share of role in the society and find themselves in a constant contrast of dream and reality, thought and action, prediction and practicality, conjecture and experience, expectation and commitment. But suddenly, when the adolescents discover themselves surrounded by heaps of problems, these problems make them maladjusted in their social set up. Adjustment is related with the mental set up of the children, how they think, behave and react to their surrounding environment. Society consists of several multidimensional complexities, and as a social being every individual must perform some activities which will help them to cope with the social and cultural adjustment.

Adjustment, in psychology, refers to the behavioral process by which humans and other animals maintain equilibrium among their various needs or between their needs and the obstacles of their environments. Human beings are able to adjust to the physical, social and psychological demands that arise from having inter dependability with other individual Shaffer (1961). Adjustment, as a process describes and explains the ways and means of an individual’s adaptation to his self and his environment without reference to the quality of such adjustment or its outcome in terms of success or failure. It is an organizational behavior in life situations at home, at school, at work in growing up and in ageing. It helps one to keep out basic impulses at tolerable levels, to believe in one’s own abilities and to achieve desired goals. Thus, adjustment helps for self-initiated growth and development along intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and vocational dimensions. Adjustment refers to the psychological process through which people manage or cope with the demands and challenges of everyday life. It connotes conformity, it deals with the way an individual adapts to his environment and demand of life Ogoemeka (2012).  This includes how he relates to other (interpersonal) and how he deals with his responsibilities and inner feelings. Psychologically, adjustment helps the organism to cope with the demands and pressures of the outside world as well as the needs, desires and conflicts experiences from within Dickens (2006).

            In present, revolutionary changes are taking place in different fields and to cope up with such environment adjustment becomes necessary. To keep pace with the changing society, one has to make changes in our self or his environment. It the individual does not keep pace with the changing time; he is thrown back in the society. So the individual has to constantly make change in him to make the adjustment possible.

           Emotion is a complex feeling and a state of mind accompanied with physiological arousal and overt behavior. The word Emotion is derived from Latin word ‘Emovere’ which means to stir up, to agitate. There are three basic components of emotion: feeling, physiological reactions, and behaviour.  Feeling is the most obvious aspect of emotion; when the individual is stirred up or moved, this reaction can have motivational significance as the individual tries to attain or dispel the feeling. The physiological component of emotion includes a widespread excitatory and inhibitory reaction that occurs through arousal of the sympathetic nervous system. Behavioural component is the most evident to show the degree of the emotional experience. Behaviour of an individual help to identify the feelings focusing upon facial expression and postural – gestural reactions. The optimal level of emotional arousal for human performance depends upon the complexity of the task. The term emotion is used in the context of emotional adjustment of adolescents.

 Emotional adjustment refers to personal adjustment or psychological adjustment. It is the maintenance of emotional equilibrium in the face of internal and external stressors. This is facilitated by cognitive processes of acceptance and adaptation. The capacity of emotional adjustment is an important aspect of mental health. World Health Organization (2013) defines mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. When mental health is compromised or not developed, psychopathology and mental disorders can occur. Emotional or behavioural symptoms or emotional domains are depression, anxiety, school behavioural problems, fighting, work problems, academic problems, social conflicts or social withdrawal and physical complaints.

Tulpule (1977) conducted a pilot study about adjustment of pre- university students and found that in the area of emotional adjustment about 50% girls were found to be emotionally maladjusted, 17% showed average adjustment and 3% were found to be well adjusted. In the area of social adjustment 30% showed poor adjustment with submissive and retiring tendency, and nearly 6% indicated aggressiveness in social contracts. Goswami (1980) found that the number of problems increased with age. The analysis of results showed that the adolescents girls encounter maximum number of problems in the emotional and mental areas followed by problems in school and home areas. The physical and sexual was the least problem encountering areas. Gupta (1996) found a significant relationship in adolescent girls on feelings of inferiority with emotional and social adjustment. 

            The concept of personal functioning is usually referring to the level of an individual adaptiveness in coping, psychological coping strategy, emotional coping, adaption to specific stressors and style of dealing personal problems. According to Rogers (1961), a fully function person is one who is in touch with his or her deepest and innermost feelings and desires. These individuals understand their own emotions, problems and place a deep trust in their own instincts and urges and are able to manage them were necessary. By the definition given above, the concept of personal functioning rely on how an individual is able to cope with his/her emotional problems, psychological problems, adaptive to his/her immediate environment and till function adequately.

            Coping is the conscious effort to reduce stress (Weiten & Lloyd, 2008; Snyder, 1999; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; and Zeidner & Endler, 1996).  Psychological coping mechanisms are commonly termed coping strategies or coping skills. Coping skills develop from infancy and are learnt by watching others and trial and error. Perceived control is an important resource in coping with stressful situations (Skinner & Zimmer, 2011). It develops from prior mastery of stressful situations and within social relationships. Affiliation with others is a basic human response for managing stress Taylor (2011).  The effectiveness of coping strategies in reducing distress is dependent on the strategies used and the self-belief that one can cope, also known as coping self-efficacy Chesney, (Neilands, Chambers, Taylor, Folkman, 2006).

       Some sex differences have been noted in coping responses. There is evidence that males often develop stress due to their careers, whereas females often encounter stress due to issues in interpersonal relationship (Davis, Matthews, Twamley & Elizabet, 1999).  Early studies indicated that there were gender differences in the sources of stressors, but gender differences in coping were relatively small after controlling for the source of stressors; (Billings & Moos, 1981) and more recent work has similarly revealed small differences between women's and men's coping strategies when studying individuals in similar situations.  (Brannon & Feist, 2009).

            In general, such differences as exist indicate that women tend to employ emotion-focused coping and the tend-and-befriend response to stress, whereas men tend to use problem-focused coping and the fight-or-flight response, perhaps because societal standards encourage men to be more individualistic, while women are often expected to be interpersonal. An alternative explanation for the aforementioned differences involves genetic factors. The degree to which genetic factors and social conditioning influence behavior, is the subject of ongoing debate (Washburn-Ormachea, Hillman & Sawilowsky, 2004).  The individual coping strategy is going to discussed under problem focused coping, emotion focused coping, and avoidance coping.

Problem-focused coping targets the causes of stress in practical ways which tackles the problem or stressful situation that is causing stress, consequently directly reducing the stress. Problem focused strategies aim to remove or reduce the cause of the stressor, including: Problem-solving, Time-management, Obtaining instrumental social support.

Emotion-focused coping involves trying to reduce the negative emotional responses associated with stress such as embarrassment, fear, anxiety, depression, excitement and frustration. This may be the only realistic option when the source of stress is outside the person’s control.

In psychology, avoidance coping, escape coping, or cope and avoid is a maladaptive coping mechanism Moshe (1995) characterized by the effort to avoid dealing with a stressor (Friedman & Silver, 2006). Coping refers to behaviors that attempt to protect oneself from psychological damage (Pearlin & Schooler, 1978).  Alternatives to avoidance coping include modifying or eliminating the conditions that gave rise to the problem and changing the perception of an experience in a way that neutralizes the problem (Pearlin & Schooler, 1978).

Literature on coping often classifies coping strategies into two broad categories: approach/active coping and avoidance/ passive coping (Roth &Cohen, 1986).  Approach coping includes behaviors that attempt to reduce stress by alleviating the problem directly, and avoidance coping includes behaviors that reduce stress by distancing oneself from the problem. Traditionally, approach coping has been seen as the healthiest and most beneficial way to reduce stress, while avoidance coping has been associated with negative personality traits, potentially harmful activities, and generally poorer outcomes (Holahan & Moos, 1985).

However, research has shown that some types of avoidance coping have beneficial outcomes (McCaul& Malott,1984; Seidman & Zager, 1991).  A study by Long and Haney found that both jogging and relaxation techniques were equally successful at reducing anxiety and increasing feelings of self-efficacy (Long & Haney, 1988).  Therefore, it seems that positive forms of passive coping such as exercise and meditation have qualitatively different outcomes from negative forms such as binge eating and drug use (Lindquist, Beilin & Knuiman, 1997).  These positive forms of passive coping may be particularly beneficial for alleviating stress when the individual does not currently have the resources to eliminate the problem directly, indicating the advantage of flexibility when engaging in coping behaviors (Carver & Connor-Smith, 2010).

     Sexual orientation or preference is an individual's pattern of physical and emotional arousal toward members of the same and/or opposite gender (American psychological Association, 2013).  It exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality and includes various degrees of bisexuality. Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Individuals may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors. Conceptually, sexual orientation has three major dimensions, Sexual attraction, which is the sex or gender of individuals that someone feels attracted to; sexual behavior, which is the sex of sex partners and self-identification, which is how one identifies one's sexual orientation. Sexual attraction is the main construct included in definitions of sexual orientation and it is important for young people and others who are not sexually active. Authors have posited that sexual attraction is the most important construct for measuring sexual orientation (American psychiatric Association, 2011). Not everyone with same-sex attraction engage in sexual activity with partners of the same sex and vice versa. It is thus important to know if there are discrepancies in attraction and behaviour. Self-identification varies over time for most individuals and is heavily influenced by socio-cultural factors. Self-identification is not always in agreement with sexual behavior or attraction. The discordance among these three dimensions are likely due to multiple factors and these include stigma, laws and legal risks in some countries, especially in a country like Nigeria where same sex relationships are criminalized, cultural values and meanings, developmental change, partner selection opportunities and even economic considerations. Moreover, the factors could also be operational and methodological, for example discrepancies in sampling, instruments used and measurement errors. The complex components of sexual orientation challenge many adolescents' emotional and psychological development.

            These categories are aspects of the more nuanced nature of sexual identity and terminology American Psychological Association (2013). For example, people may use other labels, such as pansexual or polysexual (Firestein, 2007) or none at all. According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.  Androphilia and gynephilia are terms used in behavioral science to describe sexual orientation as an alternative to a gender binary conceptualization. Androphilia describes sexual attraction to masculinity; gynephilia describes the sexual attraction to femininity (Schmidt, 2010). The term sexual preference largely overlaps with sexual orientation, but is generally distinguished in psychological research American Psychological Association (2013). A person who identifies as bisexual, for example, may sexually prefer one sex over the other (Rosario, Schrimshaw, Hunter & Braun, 2006). Sexual preference may also suggest a degree of voluntary choice Friedman (1990); whereas the scientific consensus is that sexual orientation is not a choice (Gloria, 2012; Mary, Agnes &Susan, 2014).

            Scientists do not know the exact causes of sexual orientation, but they believe that it is caused by a complex interplay of genetic, hormonal and environmental influence Gail (2014). They favor biologically-based theories, which point to genetic factors, the early uterine environment, both, or the inclusion of genetic and social factors (Långström, Rahman, Carlström & Lichtenstein, 2008). There is no substantive evidence which suggests parenting or early childhood experiences play a role when it comes to sexual orientation.  Research over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the opposite sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex American Psychological Association (2013). Sexual preference is reported primarily within biology and psychology (including sexology), but it is also a subject area in anthropology, history (including social constructionism), and law; Cruz (1999); and there are other explanations that relate to sexual orientation and culture.

     However, this research is investigating the influence of personal functioning and sexual preference on emotional adjustments among adolescents.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Emotional maladjustment among adolescents has become a dilemma of the day which only does not affects their mental health but also inhibit their success and achievement in life. Most of the problems our society experience today is due to the problems of maladjustment among adolescents. One major experience that stagnates people in life, which makes them feel depressed and conclude that nothing more can happen for them is emotional adjustment problem.

Emotional adjustment problem is defined as a disorder or behavioural reaction to an identifiable stressful event or change in a person’s life that is considered maladaptive to event or change. In psychology, the behaviour process by which humans maintain equilibrium among their various needs or between their needs and the obstacles of their environment.           Where this adjustment fails, maladjustment occurs and severe adjustment crises lead to profound psychological disturbances in some people. Adolescents with emotional adjustment problem often experiences feelings of depression, stress, anxiety or combined depression and anxiety. As a result, that person may act out behaviourally against the rules and regulations of the school, family or society. In some youths, an emotional maladjustment may manifest itself in such behaviours as skipping school, unexpected fighting, recklessness or criminal problems. Others however instead of acting out, may tend to withdraw socially and isolate themselves during their adjustment problems. Invariably, the effect of this situation is remarkably felt on the adolescent’s academic achievement. Researchers have shown that students who are maladjusted do not perform well in examination. Constant poor grade is their lot and this resorts to depression (Osarenren, 1996). Depression, arising from academic aspect of the students lives creates emotional adjustment problems. This in turn affects all the three learning stages of acquisition retention and recall. Since the affected students may possess feelings of unworthiness and self-reproach; and sees learning as punishment, in some cases the student becomes vulnerable to threat and frustration.

            However, the following questions would be used to ascertain if sexual preference and personal functioning have influence on emotional adjustment among adolescents;

1.      Will adolescents with high sexual preference have high emotional adjustment than adolescents with low sexual preference?

2.      Will adolescents with high personal functioning have high emotional adjustment than adolescents with low personal functioning?




1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the problems of sexual preference and personal functioning as they influence emotional adjustment among undergraduates. The study eill also spell out significant relationships between sexual preference and emotional adjustment as well as personal functioning and emotional adjustment, with the aim of designing a more suitable method of emotional adjustment.

Specifically, the following objectives will be achieved in this study:

1.      To examine if personal functioning has influence on emotional adjustment among adolescents.

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