Indicators of mental status of university students at the onset of unrest: a case of kisii university, Kenya
Oyoo, Eliud Oure
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Several research findings show that University students’ unrest is a common phenomenon all over the world but more prevalent in the developing countries. Most Universities are focused on management of the aftermath of students’ unrest. However, studies have not been done on detecting the onset of students’ unrest and then implementing appropriate preventive measures to forestall the unrest. The purpose of the study was to determine indicators of mental status that can be used to detect the onset of students’ unrest in universities. The objectives of the study were to identify the main;verbal indicators, physical indicators and social indicators of mental status of University students at the onset of unrest; to compare the perceptions of security officers with that of secretaries on the indicators of mental status of University students at the onset of unrest and to determine the appropriate preventive measures to be used to forestall unrest.The study is significant in providing mental status examination tool that will be used to detect onset of unrest and then forestalling it. It was a survey research design which used mixed research methods. Questionnaires and interview schedules were used for data collection. The research population included; Security officers, secretaries, the personnel working under Dean of students’ department and the students’ leaders at Kisii University in the year 2016. From the four strata, simple random sampling was used which gave a total sample size of 183 which was obtained from a target population of 220. Quantitative data collected was analyzed descriptively into frequency counts, percentages, means and inferentially into independent sample t-test analysis and rank order correlation. Qualitative data collected was coded, categorized, sorted and classified into themes and sub-themes. The main verbal indictors of mental status of university students at onset of unrest are: The word ‘comrade’ being common in their speech, speech full of threats, word ‘power’ common especially in group speech and increased talkativeness of students, in that order. The main physical indicators of mental status of unrest are: Yelling emotional expressions, violent tendencies, hostile attitude manifestations and anger gestures, in that order. The main social indicators of mental status of unrest are: Stressful conditions, arrogant conducts, WhatsApp postings and cummulated grievances, in that order. The findings show that there is significant difference in influence of perceptions of security officers and secretaries on indicators of mental status of University students’ at onset of unrest. The preventive measures of University students’ unrest range from short term preventive measures, effective management strategies, to reduction of poverty disparities among University students. The research recommendation is that all the public universities should adopt the use of the invented mental status examination tool to detect the onset of unrest with the aim of forestalling the unrest.
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