A Comparison of Emotional Maturity and Behavioural Problems between Orphans and Non-Orphans
Adolescence is the stage just prior to the adulthood. It is a significant period in which every one should meet proper physiological and psychological needs in order to bloom into a responsible and mature adults. Unfortunately, adolescents living in orphanages can’t receive any parental care and support even though their physical needs such as food, shelter and clothing have been met in the present scenario of Kerala orphanages. Since lack of parental care and nurturance of orphans will hamper their mental health and psychological well-being, there is a need for improving the quality of psychological stimulations and interventions in orphanages in order to improve their emotional health and sound behaviour. So, it is important to understand the current standards of orphans to make appropriate changes. The study was done to make a comparison of emotional maturity and behavioural problems among orphans and non orphans. The effects of gender and type of orphans in emotional maturity and behavioural problems are also studied. The study composed of 100 orphans and 100 non-orphans whose age range between 13 and 18 years old. The study was done by the tool Emotional Maturity Scale (Singh and Bhargava, 1991) and Child Behaviour Checklist for Ages 6-18 (Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001). The descriptive study was used. The t test and ANOVA statistics were used. The findings of the study reveal that the emotional maturity of orphans is lower than that of non-orphans. It is also found that there is no effect of gender and type of orphans in emotional maturity and behavioural problems
Key words: Emotional maturity, behaviour problems, orphans, adolescents.
Adolescence is the period of life span development which lies in between puberty and adulthood. It is not only the time of stress and storm and of conflict with parents, but also they form a secure attachment and lovely relationships with family. Since adolescence acts as a bridge between childhood and adulthood, they tend to be immature and are vulnerable to experience psychological issues, emotional conflict and troublesome behaviour. They are also egoistic and self-centered.
When considering this kind of indifference in adolescents, the family and parents have an important role in ensuring their psychological equilibrium. The psychological development of child must readily depend upon the emotional and physical support they receive from their parents. It is found that parents have an important role in children’s each and every phases of development. Parents, especially, have an important role to support intellectually, emotionally and self esteem needs of their children. So, in the case of family environments where the parents are separated or divorced or neglected, or died and living in adopted families or institutional centers or orphanages, the children lack parental care, support, affection, love and other family and environmental stimulation. Among them, orphans are special population who have no either one parent or both parents to raise them; to care them and to protect them.
Orphan is a child whose parents are dead or a child who has been deprived of parental care and has not been adopted. UNICEF include the child who has lost one parent, often termed as a ‘half’ or ‘single’ orphan, in the definition of “orphans”. The category of orphan can thus encompass numerous types of parentless children , ranging from children who have lost both parents to children have living parents but live separate from them, such as the foundling (typically an abandoned child found and cared for by non-kin or an institution), the ward (typically an orphan cared for by a legal guardian), the proper apprentice (typically an orphan or abandoned child consigned to labor and cared for by an apprentice master) and the street child (typically a child who has left his or her family to live and work on the street).
Since orphan adolescents lack parental support and care, they may face lots of problems such as poor decision making, problem solving, resolving conflicts, coping with stress and coping with emotions. They are irresponsible and will be in the grip of uncontrollable emotions. Therefore, they can’t maintain good emotional health. In addition to that, they make harmful activities that affect their own and others quality of life negatively. While growing into a responsible adult, attaining emotional maturity and eradicating behavioural problems is an important factor. Most of the studies revealed that orphans suffer higher levels of psychosocial problems than their non orphan peers. In particular, maternal and double orphans are more likely to experience behavioural and emotional difficulties, suffer abuses and low rate of trusting relationships. Zhao, Li, Barnett, Lin and Fang (1999) conducted a study on orphan children’s psychological well-being in China. Their findings revealed that orphans and vulnerable children showed lower psychological well-being than comparison groups.
So it can be assumed that many children lives without their parent’s care, love, protection, affection etc. Their physiological needs such food, water, shelter, clothing, safety and security as well as psychological needs such as love and belongingness, affection, care, warmth and respect may not be fulfilled. So, some orphans live with their grandparents, some live in relative’s homes, some live with their adopted parents, some are found wandering in streets. In the present scenario of Kerala, there are many orphanages in each and every district of Kerala in the ownership of different community. There will be some caretakers according to the number of orphans in order to care and protect them. In such an environment, their physiological needs will be satisfied; they will be feed, get water, have an adequate place to sleep, have shelter, and will be clothed whereas their psychological needs will not be fulfilled.
It is a fact that living environment is a significant predictor of psychological skills, mental health and emotional and social development. So, while considering the psychological development of every child in Kerala, we have to take a special consideration for those deprived population. In order to give them proper care and protection as well as to enhance their mental health and psychological skills, many innovative programs, strategies and appropriate changes have to be brought in every orphanages and these kinds of institutions. Hence, the findings of the study becomes significant in improving orphanage environment as this would impact their life achievements, relationship with others, teaming, accepting responsibilities, making decisions, and enhancing self worth in their adulthood.
So, the study wants to take a comparison of emotional maturity and behavioural problems between orphans and non-orphans. It is done by taking emotional maturity of non-orphans who are living with their parents and orphans who are living in institutional settings and by taking a description of caretaker’ s evaluation about the behavioural problems of orphans and non-orphans.
Objectives of the study
2. To find out difference in emotional maturity among orphans with respect to gender and type of orphan.
3. To study the behavioural problems of randomly chosen orphans.
4. To find out the difference in behavioural problems among orphans with respect to gender and type of orphan.
2. There will be no significant difference in emotional maturity among orphans with respect to gender and type of orphans.
3. There will be no significant difference in behavioural problems among orphans and non-orphans.
4. There will be no significant difference in behavioural problems among orphans with respect to gender and type of orphans.
Selection of sample and sampling technique
In the present study, the subjects are adolescents whose age range from 13- 18 in Kerala. The sample consists of 200 subjects having 100 orphans and 100 non-orphans. The sample of orphans was drawn from two orphanages in Malappuram district by using quota sampling method. Since orphans is a special population, this sampling method can ensure that the sample group represents certain characteristics of the population chosen by the researcher. The sample of non- orphans was drawn from an aided school in Malappuram district by using convenience sampling method. It is a non- probability sampling that involves the sample being drawn from the people near by the researcher. Some members of orphans (17) and some members of non-orphans (17) were randomly chosen from the already selected 100 orphan adolescents and 100 non-orphan adolescents respectively by using simple random sampling method for a second analysis. This sampling method gives all items same chance being selected.
Tools used for the study are:-
2. Emotional Maturity Scale ( Singh and Bhargava, 1991)
3. Child Behaviour Checklist for Ages 6–18 (Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001)
General data sheet
A general data sheet was prepared by the investigator to collect general information and analyse the socio-demographic variables of the respondents in detail. It consists of the data regarding Name, Age, Sex, Religion, Education and questions related to orphan hood.
Emotional Maturity Scale
Emotional maturity scale prepared by Singh and Bhargava (1991) was used to measure the emotional maturity. Emotional Maturity Scale deals with interplay of forces with intensities and quantities in terms of the different aspects:-
b) Emotional Regression
c) Social Maladjustment
d) Personality Disintegration
e) Lack of independence
The reliability of the scale:-
The test – retest reliability of the scale was measured by administering upon a group of collegiate students (N= 150) including male and female students aged 20- 24 ages. The time interval between the two testings was that of six months. The product moment r between the two testing was 0.75.
Validity of the scale:-
The scale was validated against external criteria i.e. the Gha area of the adjustment inventory for the college students by Sinha and Singh. The inventory has Gha area measuring emotional adjustment of college students. The number of items of this area is twenty one. Product moment correlation obtained between total scores on all twenty one ‘ Gha’ items and total scores on EMS was 0.64 ( N= 46).
Child Behaviour Checklist for Ages 6- 18.
The CBCL/ 6-18 is a revision of the CBCL/4-18 ( Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001 ). It is completed by parents, parent- surrogates and others who see children in family- like contexts. It includes open ended items for describing the child’s illnesses and disabilities, what concerns the respondent most about the child, and the best things about the child.
The reliability of the scale:-
Test – retest item reliabilities were computed from CBCLs obtained by a single interviewer who visited mothers of 72 non-referred children at a 1- week interval. Ratings of non-referred children were used to assess test- retest reliability, because their scores would be less susceptible to regression towards the mean than the scores of referred children. The overall ICC (Interclass Correlation Coefficient) was 1.00 for the 20 competence items and 0.95 for the 118 specific problem items (both p < 0.001). This indicates very high test – retest reliability in scores obtained for each item relative to scores obtained for each other item.
The validity of the scale:-
The content validity of the competence, adaptive and problem item scores has been supported by the four decades of research, consultation, feedback and revision, as well as the findings that all items discriminated significantly (p < 0.01) between demographically matched referred and non-referred children.
The investigator visited the orphanages and talked about the research and its topic. After seeking the permission to collect data, orphans were gathered in an allotted room. Then, the questionnaires were distributed and methods of filling up them were explained. The subjects were given time to fill the data appropriately. Their doubts were properly clarified. The filled in questionnaires were collected and confidentiality of the information was assured to the respondents. Then, a small sample (17) from 100 orphans was selected for second analysis. Because it is difficult to rate 100 orphans by using 113 items checklist since there is only three- four care takers in the orphanages. It is assumed that they can represent the total sample orphans. For second analysis, the care takers of the orphanages were gathered and checklists were distributed to them. They were asked to fill them up by rating some of their foster children who were randomly chosen by the investigator. The filled in checklists were collected.
Then, the investigator visited the aided school and talked about research and its topic. After seeking the permission to collect the data, students were gathered in a classroom and the questionnaires were distributed and methods of filling up them were explained and the subjects were given time to fill the data appropriately. Their doubts are properly clarified. The filled in questionnaires were collected and confidentiality of the information was assured to the respondents. Then, some students were chosen randomly and the same checklist were distributed to them, and they were asked to pass them to their parents for filling up them and to bring them the very next day. Then, those questionnaires were also collected from them.
Results and discussion
The data collected from the respondents was tabulated and statistically analyzed by applying percentage, mean, standard deviation, t test and ANOVA. The Table-1 shows the frequencies and percentages of orphans and non-orphans with respect to emotional maturity
Level ( Range of Scores )
Extremely stable ( 50-80)
Moderately stable ( 81- 88 )
Unstable ( 89- 106 )
Extremely unstable (107–248)
Table 1 shows that while 64% of the orphans are extremely unstable in emotional maturity, only 34% of non-orphans are extremely unstable. 28% of non-orphans are extremely stable in emotional maturity. At the same time, only 6% of orphans are extremely stable in emotional maturity. In the case of orphans, 5% are moderately stable and 25% are unstable when 11% are moderately stable and 27% are unstable in the case of non-orphans. It interprets that orphans are very unstable in emotional maturity when compared to non-orphans.
Mean value, standard deviation and t value of emotional maturity scores with respect to orphan hood.
Table 2 shows that the mean, standard deviation and t value of emotional maturity scores of orphans with respect to orphan hood. Here, the t value is 4.779, which indicates that there is significant difference between emotional maturity scores of both these groups (orphans and non-orphans) at 0.05 levels. Thus null hypothesis is rejected. The results are supported by the study “ Emotional maturity of adolescents from orphanages, single parent families and intact families: A comparative study” conducted by (Upreti and Sharma, 2018). Its results indicate that overall,more numbers of orphans were found emotionally immature. Adolescents living with intact families were significantly more emotionally progressed, socially adjusted, independent and overall analysis also showed that they were more emotionally mature. Also, the study “Emotional maturity among children living in orphanages” conducted by (Daragad and Roopa, 2018) also support the present study. Its results showed that 79.00 percent of children residing in orphanages had low level of emotional maturity there by accepting the hypothesis set for the study. Twenty one percent of them were moderately matured and none of them had high level of emotional maturity. The test showed non-significant results (0.27). This kind of studies having similar results makes more reliability for the present study.
Type of orphan
Summary of One Way Analysis Of Variance (ANOVA) of emotional maturity scores of orphan with respect to type of orphan.
Source of Variation
Sum of squares
Level (Range of Scores)
Normal ( Below 60 )
Borderline ( 60 – 63 )
Clinical ( Above 63 )
The table 7 shows the mean, standard deviation and t value of child behaviour checklist scores with respect to orphan hood. Here, the t value is -0.53. Thus, the null hypothesis is accepted. Here, the negative t value indicates that even though there is no significant difference between child behaviour checklist scores of orphans and non-orphans at 0.05 level, orphans have low mean score of emotional maturity than that of non-orphans. The results of the study “Behaviour problem and emotional maturity among orphans” conducted by (Kumbhar, Krishnan, Sokhi and Hussain, 2016) indicates that orphans were significantly high on behaviour problem and low on emotional maturity. Its results contrast with the present study because of that this study was done with 60 orphans whereas the present study was done with randomly selected 17 orphans only.
Mean standard deviation and t value of child behaviour checklist scores of orphans with respect to gender.
Type of orphan
Type of orphan
The table 10 shows that the F ratio is 0.061, which is not significant at 0.05 level. Hence, null hypothesis is accepted. It shows that there is no significant difference in behavioural problems of orphans with respect to type of orphans.
Major findings :-
2 The study shows that there is no significant difference in emotional maturity among orphans with respect to gender.
3 The study shows that most of the orphans (72%) are paternal orphans whose father are died, 23% of them are maternal orphans whose mother is died, and 5% of them are double orphans whose both parents are died. It also shows that there is no significant difference in emotional maturity of orphans with respect to type of orphans.
4 The study found that there is no significant difference in behavioural problems among orphans and non orphans. Only 23% of orphans comes under the clinical category of checklist and only 11.76% of orphans comes under the borderline category of checklist. It is because of that the study was conducted in Muslim orphanages where religious and moral values are taught to lessen behavioural issues.
5 The study reveals that there is no significant difference in behavioural problems among orphans with respect to gender.
6 The study reveals that most of the orphans (76%) who were randomly selected from the total sample are paternal orphans whose father is died, 17 % of them are maternal orphans whose mother is died and 5 % of them are double orphans whose both parents are died. It shows that there is no significant difference in behavioural problems of orphans with respect to type of orphans.
It can be concluded that the adolescents who have lost their one or both parent are emotionally immature as compared to adolescents who are experiencing the care and intimacy of the parents. This may be due to variety of reasons. Only two or three care takers of orphanages don’t or can’t provide psychological needs such as care, love, affection, and respect as a parent can give even though the care takers can give the physiological needs such as food, water, shelter, clothing, adequate place to sleep etc. It may negatively impact their psychological well-being and mental health. In addition to that, the orphans lack elder figures to be taught or learn adaptive coping mechanisms for dealing with negative emotions. So, they don’t know how to respond to situations in a mature and responsible manner. As well as, the orphans are only limited to social areas of orphanage and school compounds. So, they have not much social exposure to mingle, form and maintain relationships with others and to learn social skills whereas the non-orphans will have other various opportunities such as family gatherings, social and cultural programs to learn appropriate social behaviour.
It implies that the orphanages have to take an immediate action plan for the improvement of the quality of orphanage atmosphere. The orphanages should implement an effective educational program in order to overcome with negative emotions of orphans. Guidance and counselling cell having a qualified psychologist and counsellor have to be established in orphanages in order to solve their problems and to learn appropriate coping mechanisms. Personality development workshops, seminars; group discussions also have to be organized periodically to promote their level of mental health. Governmental or non-governmental organizations should pay attention to social, emotional, educational problems of orphan children by providing special training to in-service care takers in these institutions. The main limitations of the study was that the data have been collected from only Muslim orphanages of one district (Malappuram). So, further study can be done by taking samples from all district of Kerala and from all religious orphanages.
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