Editorials for Volume 3

On behalf of the Board and my co-editors, I am delighted to announce the publication of the third volume of the African Journal of Human Development and Lifespan published by the Association of Lifespan Behaviour Development Practitioners (formerly known also known as the Nigerian Association of Developmental Psychologists). The articles in this edition truly represent the broad multidisciplinary and multidimensional nature of human development and the implications for behaviour development practitioners.

The covert and overt hostility as well as intentional aggression towards others which characterized antisocial behaviours disrupt the human rights of others. Decades of research on antisocial behaviour have documented biological, psychological, and social predictors of antisocial behaviour. However, more research findings are needed to provide a better understanding of antisocial behaviour to inform intervention and policy. This study by Janet Olaseni adds to previous knowledge to show that being male and scoring low on self-regulatory behaviour are associated with higher antisocial behaviour among undergraduates.

Many researchers have documented adjustment challenges associated with the biological, physical, and psychological changes which accompany the transition from adolescence to adulthood. For the participants in this study, these challenges are further complicated because they have become more vulnerable as a result of being witnesses to the conflicts and violence which resulted in their being among the internally displaced and now institutionalized. It is imperative that for these adolescents to become well-adjusted adults, the development of resilience is crucial. Resilience has been defined as the ability of an individual to bounce back after traumatic or stressful life events. Obisesan and Adejuwon suggest that intervention strategies on resilience should focus on the provision of high social support, low stress, and low self-reported depression among the institutionalized internally displaced adolescents in Abeokuta Ogun State.

Covid-19 Pandemic: Romantic relationship break-up among emerging adults. As stated in the paper, Akinwale and Bada extended the literature by showing that self-esteem, and gender were not associated with emotional coping in response to romantic breakups during the pandemic lockdown among emerging adults who participated in their study. The participants in the study showed similar emotional responses irrespective of their gender to romantic breakups during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. This result could be used for intervention purposes among emerging adults who experienced romantic breakups during the lockdown pandemic.

Social control theory and several long-term studies have demonstrated that self-control is a factor that is developed early in life. Self-control has been found to be generally stable over time to adulthood. Many studies indicated that self-control is a significant factor associated with positive or negative behavioural outcomes. Low self-control has been associated with several negative behavioural outcomes such as criminality, and various types of deviant behaviours spanning through adulthood in some cases. High self-control developed in childhood, on the other hand, has been found to be associated with positive behavioural outcomes such as high self-efficacy, high-level achievement, and positive adulthood adjustment. Adeladun and Adejuwon, therefore, replicated the Marshmallow experiment on self-control among primary school pupils in Agbowo, Ibadan, Oyo State. Older primary school pupils were found to score higher on self-control than younger pupils. It is recommended that intervention strategies should focus on younger children for the development of self-control, at all levels.

Several research findings have indicated that body image perception is lifelong and cut across age groups. Body satisfaction or dissatisfaction has been associated with positive or adverse psychological, behavioural, and social outcomes which may have short or long-term implications. In order to promote a better understanding of body image perception, expand the literature and sharpen the focus of intervention, Nwafor, Ugwu, Ofoma, and Okoye investigated age and gender differentials in body image perception among Nigerian samples. The authors showed that both males and females did not differ significantly in body image perception. However, the focus of intervention could consider early adults who scored higher on body image perception concerns than adolescents and older adults in this study.

Still, on the concept of body image, Bello’s paper examined the evolution of communal body image ideals and practices from parents or communal caregivers to teachers, peers, the media, and eventually the individual. The author suggests that from the African perspective, body image reflects cultural and social perceptions. He opined that in the African community, the concept of body image reflects cultural and social prescriptions. Body image, in this context, is more than just a personal perception of one’s physical appearance. It is a reflection of one’s relationship with the community and the cultural values and beliefs that shape it. For example, traditional practices on body image include special baths by older women in households whose duties are to mold babies’ skulls, ward off evil illnesses and evil spirits, inscribe traditional markings, and perform puberty-suppressing practices. Body image practices in infancy are culturally prescribed and are more focused on health promotion. From adolescence, locus of control centers back to the individual, and body image practices are more reflective of modern prescriptions, like skin bleaching, tattooing, and cosmetic physical alterations. The author suggested that an understanding of the changing nature of body image ideals in Africa is essential for promoting positive body image and reducing negative psychosocial outcomes related to body image.

Despite decades of research, the prevalence of male-perpetrated violence which may take many forms such as physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological, has continued to be documented in various literature. There has been substantial agreement among researchers that violence during dating is a strong predictor of marital violence. The violent behaviour that begins during dating relationships if not curtailed has a tendency to continue in a marital relationship with the associated adverse consequences not only on the female victims but also on the children. Although many predisposing factors to male-perpetrated violence have been found in previous research, Adejuwon and Falowo extended the literature by investigating perceived men-controlling behaviour and self-esteem as predictors of dating-relationship male-perpetrated violence among emerging adults in Oyo State. Both independent variables were found to be associated with male-perpetrated violence ( physical violence, sexual violence, and psychological aggression) experienced during dating relationships among emerging female undergraduate adults in this study. Preventive measures and appropriate treatment are vital for this population not only because the occurrence of violence does not always put an end to the relationship but also because of the adverse consequences of being victims of violence.

Professor Grace A. Adejuwon
B.Ed., MSc., Ph.D., MNADP, FNPA
Department of Psychology
Faculty of the Social Sciences
University of Ibadan
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