How Psycho-Social Factors Can Influence School Adjustment Among Students

5 min readFeb 11


Students’ willingness to participate and adjust in school programme might be influenced by school environment and students experiences inside and outside school. Adjustment has been defined in various ways by psychologists to mean a process of maintaining harmonious relationships between a living organism and its environment.

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The adjustment process can be seen as a way in which the individual attempts to deal with stress, tension, conflicts and meet his or her needs while making efforts at the same time to maintain harmonious relationships with the environment. This implies that the individual and the environment are two important factors in adjustment.

School adjustment is the degree of school acculturation required or adaptations necessitated for maximizing the educational fit between students’ unique characteristics and the distinct nature and requirement of learning environments

Psycho-social Factors

Psychosocial factors included social resources (social integration and emotional support), psychological resources (perceived control, self-esteem, sense of coherence, and trust), and psychological risk factors (cynicism, vital exhaustion, hopelessness, and depressiveness)

School Adjustment Among Students

School adjustment plays a vital role in a child’s life, and it is like a pillar on which child’s entire life is based. It is not only related to a child’s progress and achievement, but also their attitudes towards school, anxieties, loneliness, social support and academic motivation. Interpersonal relationship affects children’s academic motivation. Relationship with peers and teachers is a powerful motivator. It was noted that school learning can be promoted by learning contexts that enhance student involvement with others. Research shows that children’s loneliness and social dissatisfaction relate negatively to school achievement. Friendship supports children in the school environment and help with their adjustment. Peers can be a source of support to deal with problems and child is able to deal with alienation. Four motives affect the influence that friends have on students‟ school adjustment: need for approval, identification, self-enhancement, and need to be correct. Students want to be liked, so they try to please friends and engage in actions that friends will approve of. Identification denotes the need to think and act like friends. Self-enhancement means that students compare themselves socially with friends and judge their capabilities partly on the basis of these comparisons. Need to be correct refer to a student’s desire to hold correct beliefs. Trusted friends are deemed to be important sources of information for confirming beliefs. Students can focus on what their friends are saying to gain a better understanding of the situation, rather than judging the accuracy of the source.

Effective adjustment to school depends on children possessing a range of skills and behaviours (social, emotional/behavioural and academic skills) that help them adapt to and participate in the school environment. Children with good emotional well-being are more likely to feel secure, relaxed and comfortable in the new environment and have more positive attitudes about school and learning. Adjustment to school is influenced by a combination of the child’s personal characteristics, their experiences, and the interconnections between home, preschool and school. How well a child makes the adjustment to school can have implications for their ongoing social, emotional/behavioural and academic progress.

Psycho-Social Factors and School Adjustment Dynamics

The school as a formal agency of education is an important instrument geared towards nurturing the personal good of individuals and the collective good of the society of which these individuals form an integral part. This can be typifies knowledge, understanding, competencies, practical know-hows and skills as well as active involvement in the community, geared towards a sense of achievement.

The general purpose of education shall be to train children for their intellectual, social, physical, civic and moral development and their smooth integration into society bearing in mind prevailing economic, socio-cultural, political and moral factors. This provision highlights government ardent desire for school adjustment to be achieved. This means that for an individual to become a useful person to himself/herself and to society, appropriate education must be acquired which can only be guaranteed if the individual effectively adjusts to the learning environment.

Students’ willingness to take part and adjust in school programme could be influenced by the nature of the school environment and their experiences both inside and outside school. Scholars have variedly given meaning to the concept of adjustment from several perspectives. It can be seen as a process of maintaining harmonious relationships between a living organism and its environment. The term adjustment is often used as synonymous to accommodation and adaptation. Strictly speaking, the term signifies the results of equilibrium, which may be affected by either of these processes. This term underscores a person’s struggle to go along or survive in his or her social and physical environment. Talking about the individual, attention is given to heredity, biological, psychological factors, as well as the quality of socialization given to him or her by the more knowledgeable others in his/her life. The environment would involve all the social factors. People generally leave their families and attend school, wherein they would be required to make a wide range of adjustments if they have to successfully cope in the new environment. Every member of the society encourages this needed effort for a successful integration of fitting in. Broadly speaking, there are three areas where an individual need to be adjusted to live balanced life. These are family home, school and society.

More students increasingly find it difficult coping with the school environment and its challenges. With the academic demands becoming more intense, low self-esteem, emotional problems and sometimes the inability to get help from the right source, students may tend to feel frustrated and find it difficult to cope with the school environment. One would wonder whether educational, emotional, social or the selfconcept factor could be responsible for this. As we know adolescence is a crucial period of transition from childhood to adulthood. It is the stage wherein a young person undergoes physical, emotional, social, moral and spiritual changes. These changes are speedier and bring about lots of differences in their perception and attitude which is reflected in their behaviours. Adolescents most probably experience mixed feelings on fitting into the world which could lead to role confusion. In the school environment, this confusion and the struggle in finding their grounds oftentimes could create emotional challenges such as stress, unwanted pregnancies, relationship issues, inappropriate eating habits, feeling carried away, which affect their capacity to concentrate on school work. Given the primordial role of school adjustment it was crucial exploring the issues surrounding the psychosocial adjustment of learners with particular focus on the educational, emotional factors and social support