The Level of Self-Esteem Between Orphan and Non-Orphan Students Among Secondary Schools in Kirinyaga and Nyeri Counties in Kenya

Main Article Content

Joyce Njeri Kinyua https://orcid.org/0009-0002-6340-6940
Margaret Wanjiru Gitumu https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4837-8419

Keywords

Self-esteem, mental health, orphans, non-orphans, students, learning

Abstract

Self-esteem is vital to the development of mental health for better learning. Self-esteem has a great importance as a protective factor in mental health. High self-esteem can lead to better mental health and social behavior, while poor self-esteem is linked to a broad range of mental disorders such as depression, suicidal tendencies, eating disorders and anxiety, violence and substance abuse. Secondary school students especially orphan face numerous challenges during their formative years, including academic pressures, peer relationships and socio-economic factors, all of which can significantly impact their self-esteem and mental well-being. The objective of the study was to assess the level of self-esteem between orphan and non-orphan students among secondary schools in Kirinyaga and Nyeri counties in Kenya.  This study was guided by Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs and Bowlby’s theory of attachment. The study was a survey, which utilized casual comparative research design. According to county education offices in the two counties, the total population of students was 58,448. Stratified and purposive sampling methods were used to select a sample of 426 students. A questionnaire was used to collect the data. In data analysis, descriptive (frequencies, percentages) and inferential (t- test) statistics were used. The findings revealed statistically significant differences in self-esteem levels between orphans and non-orphans across various attributes: psychological needs t(398) =-8.171, p < 0.000), safety needs t(398) =-5.300, p < 0.000), love and belonging t(398) = -1.600, p < 0.000), secure attachment (t(398) = -6.300, p < 0.000) and development of trust (t(398) =-5.800, p < 0.000). Orphan students reported lower levels of self-esteem on average compared to their non-orphan counterparts. This difference may stem from various factors, including the absence of parental support and stability in orphaned students' lives, leading to a greater sense of vulnerability and insecurity. The recommendation is that the government should come up with comprehensive policies to promote the well-being of the students registering low self-esteem and promote mental health so as to minimize mental disorders among students for better learning.

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