Psychological Safety Of Adolescents In Institutions Of A Special Type

Abstract

In the Russian Federation there are several types of educational institutions for adolescents without parental care, including a boarding school, a special (correctional) boarding school for children with disabilities. These institutions are subordinate to educational authorities. Along with this, there are institutions subordinate to social protection bodies: social shelters, family-type orphanages, and rehabilitation centers. The aim of this study was to identify the characteristics of psychological safety in institutions of a special type (boarding school and social shelter). The total number of subjects participating in the study was 40 children (aged from 10 to 18 years), and 14 teachers. As a result, it was found that the integral indicator of the state of psychological safety in the environment of a boarding school is 216.1; for the rehabilitation center, the value is 203.8. The boarding school scored higher compared to the rehabilitation center in terms of security (32.9 vs. 31.8, respectively), satisfaction (122. 4 vs. 115. 9), self-confidence (17.4 vs. 15.9), and confident behavior (43.4 vs. 38.6). As a result of the study, it was found that the formation of safe behavior among orphans is most effective in the conditions of additional psychological and pedagogical support for children. Teachers should create a trusting atmosphere; encourage an individual approach to each child, a democratic style of education, stimulation of the child’s independence with the possibility of choosing and planning his own actions.

Keywords: Orphanssecuritypsychological safetyrehabilitation centerself-confidenceboarding school

Introduction

According to statistics, in 2015, 58,168 the number of children without parental care identified in Russia was 58,168 children in 2015, 59 131 children in 2016, 50 201 children in 2017, and 47 242 children in 2018. In the Novgorod region there are 4 352 children who remain without parental care. Due to the fact that significant work is being done in the region on the adoption of orphans in families, the number of children brought up in families is increasing from year to year. Foster families bring up 1,494 children; 869 children are adopted, and 1,310 children are placed under guardianship. There is an increase in aggressive behavior among persons deprived of parental care, and the vast majority of such children are children with deviant behavior. The problem of the psychological safety among the pupils of orphanages and other institutions of a special type, is very urgent because it is a necessary condition for their normal development ( Sheketera, 2015).

Problem Statement

It should be noted that in a modern Russian educational organization, the environment is an open system in which all trends and patterns of life are reflected without exception. Moreover, it observes all the problems characteristic of modern Russian society. This leads to situations that violate the psychological safety of the educational environment, limit the needs and rights of students. The more an individual uses the capabilities of the environment, the more successfully his/her free and active self-development occurs ( Bayanova & Shishova, 2017). In the opinion of Yasvin ( 2000) , “a person is at the same time a product and creator of his environment, which gives him a physical basis for life and makes intellectual, moral, social and spiritual development possible” (p. 10). The educational environment is part of the social environment. This is “a pedagogically organized system of conditions, influences, and opportunities to satisfy the hierarchical complex of individual needs and transform these needs into life values, which provides students with an active position in the educational process, their personal development and self-development” ( Hvatova & D'yachkova, 2006, p. 75). There are several basic models of the educational environment: ecological and personal, communicative-oriented, and anthropic-psychological. The problem of psychological safety in general and the psychological safety of the educational environment in particular, is widely discussed in the scientific community. In a general sense, psychological safety is “a state of dynamic balance of subjects’ relations (to the world, to himself, to others), their activity and satisfaction, corresponding to various (including threatening) influences of the external and internal world. Psychological safety allows the subjects to maintain integrity, develop themselves, realize their own goals and values in the process of life” ( Eksakusto & Lyz ', 2010, p. 88).

According to Baeva, ( 2012) “psychological safety is understood not only as a process that is created practically every time anew when participants in the social environment meet, and as a condition that provides basic security for the individual and society, but also as a property of the individual that characterizes its security from destructive impacts and acts as an internal resource of opposition (resistance) to destructive influences” (p. 13). This is “a state of the educational environment, free from the manifestations of psychological violence in interaction, contributing to meeting the needs for personal and trustful communication, creating the reference value of the environment, ensuring the mental health of the participants included in it” ( Baeva, 2012, p. 12). At the same time, psychological safety is considered as a mental state of an individual, generated by a specific social environment.

We will understand as psychologically safe such an educational environment, “in which most participants have a positive attitude towards it, a high level of satisfaction with the characteristics of the environment, and protection from psychological violence in interaction” ( Baeva & Laktionova, 2013, p. 7). The modern educational environment in the Russian Federation is very diverse ( Abramova, 2017). Although the educational environment of educational institutions is well studied today ( Ahmetzyanova & Nigmatullina, 2017; Baeva, 2012; Kalashnikova, Belyaeva, & Belyaeva, 2018), the question of its features in closed institutions remains open. By the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of July 1, 1995, “the Model Regulation on educational institutions for orphans and children without parental care” has been approved and is still in force, which provides for several types of educational institutions for teenagers left without parental care (for example, a boarding school, or a special/correctional boarding school for children with disabilities). These institutions are subordinate to educational authorities. Along with this, there are institutions subordinate to social protection bodies: social shelters, family-type orphanages, and rehabilitation centers. The system of institutions for social services for families and children in the Novgorod region includes 18 social shelters for children, 14 centers for social assistance to families and children, a crisis center for women, 2 rehabilitation centers for children and adolescents with disabilities, a social hotel, and a department for social assistance to families and children at the Center for Social Services. More than 15,000 families with children receive various types of services in social assistance institutions, and more than 1,500 of them are rehabilitated in social shelters. The following educational institutions accept:

  • orphans;

  • children removed from parents by court decision;

  • children whose parents are deprived of parental rights, convicted, declared legally incompetent, are in long-term treatment, or their whereabouts have not been established.

Temporarily (for a period not exceeding one year) the following groups may be accepted:

  • children of single parents;

  • children of the unemployed, refugees, internally displaced persons;

  • children from families affected by natural disasters and not having a permanent place of residence;

  • graduates of these child care facilities before their employment or training (post-boarding support).

Research Questions

The study posed the following questions:

  • What are the features of the two educational environments of a special type in terms of their psychological safety?

  • What is the level of protection for the participants of the educational process in each of the described educational environments?

  • What are the environmental characteristics that determine the psychological safety of adolescents?

Purpose of the Study

The main goal of the study is to identify and compare the psychological safety features of adolescents living and studying in institutions of a special type.

Research Methods

The study involved 7 teachers of a boarding school and 7 employees of the teaching staff of the Center "Teenager".

For diagnostic purposes, we used evaluation techniques to evaluate the spatial-subject, psycho-didactic, and socio-psychological components of the educational environment (questionnaire by P.I. Belyaeva “Expert evaluation of the components of the educational environment”). In addition, the standardized “Psychological Diagnostics of the Educational Environment” by I. A. Baeva was used. The state of psychological safety of adolescents was assessed with the help of the “Scale of subjective happiness”, SAN questionnaire, “Indicative assessment of the emotional well-being” by V.A. Ananyev ( Kalashnikova et al., 2018).

It should be noted that in the study of the psychological safety of these institutions, several factors arose that made it difficult to comprehensively consider the issue of psychological safety.

  • The current Federal Law 152-FL “On Personal Data” dated July 27, 2006, which allows institutions representing the interests of children under the care of the state not to disclose personal information about their pupils, which includes, among other things, the psychological component of a personality.

  • Studies that reveal the real level of psychological safety must be carried out for at least six months or for a year, in close interaction with the institutions, and separately with institutional psychologists. In our case, the study was conducted in the form of a single survey of children and employees of the teaching staff of these institutions.

  • Adaptation of pupils in the Center “Teenager” takes place on average up to 3 months, then the pupil is expelled and returns to a blood family or a foster family. When deprivation of parental rights is issued, the child is sent to a boarding school. Children who are undergoing rehabilitation at the Center “Teenager” are taught in secondary schools of Veliky Novgorod.

At the first stage of the study, the features of the environment in which the children were located were studied. You cannot call these environments fully educational. Children not only study, but also live in these institutions for a long time (in a boarding school) or short-term period (in the Center “Teenager”). To assess the features of the environment, we used expert assessments of employees and teachers of these institutions. The obtained data on 24 parameters characterizing all the components of the educational environment were subjected to hierarchical cluster analysis. As a measure of similarity, the Euclidean distance was used, which is acceptable for features that are quantified within the same measurement interval. As a result, two clusters were clearly identified, corresponding to two different educational environments: the environment of a boarding school and the environment of a rehabilitation center.

To identify whether all components and environmental parameters differ in the two clusters, we performed a check using one-way analysis of variance. In this case, the type of environment was considered as an independent variable, and the components and parameters of the environment as a dependent variable.

Findings

As a result, we have found that approximately half the characteristics of environment types differ from each other. Among the components of the environment, the greatest differences between the clusters are observed in the spatial-subject and psycho-didactic components. The environment of the boarding school has higher indicators: for the spatial-subject component F-criterion = 137.8; p = 0.01; for the psycho-didactic component F-criterion = 4.2; p = 0.05. This environment is characterized by the isolation of the elementary school from the senior school. The level of technical equipment is average, and the level of physical comfort is high. At the same time, children show an average level of interest in their studies, and older students lack the aggression. This environment has high rates of emotional support by the teacher for students in difficult situations of communication and learning, low levels of teacher bias towards students, which is accompanied by student confidence in the teacher and an average level of educational and cognitive stimulation. These can be explained by the fact that students have been living in a boarding school for a long time, they know teachers well and often perceive them as their family, but at the same time, the intellectual development of adolescents affects them. This environment as a whole can be characterized as having a high level of physical and psychological comfort, and an average level of educational and cognitive stimulation.

The educational environment of the social center has a different picture. This environment is characterized by the presence of low values of the integral indicator, as well as the psycho-didactic component. This type of environment is characterized by insufficient attention to the health care of adolescents, a high bias of teachers, and a reduced level of physical and psychological comfort in combination with an average level of educational and cognitive stimulation.

The next task of our study was to identify the psychological safety features of adolescents in the selected types of environments. As a result, it was found that the integral indicator of the state of psychological safety in the environment of a boarding school is 216.1; in the rehabilitation center it is 203.8. Higher indicators were found in the boarding school compared to the rehabilitation center and in terms of security (32.9 and 31.8, respectively), satisfaction (122.4 and 115.9), self-confidence (17.4 and 15.9), confident behavior (43.4 and 38.6). The one-way ANOVA analysis of variance showed significant differences in these indicators of the psychological safety of the educational environment. This makes us wonder which components of a closed environment have a significant impact on the state of psychological safety of adolescents. In order to identify the environmental features that determine the psychological safety of adolescents, we used a one-way ANOVA analysis of variance.

Liven's test showed uniform dispersion. Moreover, environmental components were considered as independent and psychological safety and its criteria as dependent variables. An integral indicator of the environment exerts a significant impact on the state of psychological safety. It is associated with satisfaction (F-crit. = 5.37; p = 0.001) and confident behavior (F-crit. = 3.07; p = 0.02). The socio-psychological component of the environment is associated with satisfaction (F-crit. = 4.48; p = 0.03), self-confidence (F-crit. = 4.89; p = 0.03), and confident behavior (F-crit. = 15.43; p = 0.000). The absence of a significant influence of the spatial-subject component on psychological safety can be explained by age and intellectual characteristics of the studied adolescents. The absence of a significant influence of the psycho-didactic component makes one think that the state of psychological safety of adolescents in institutions of a special type is affected not by educational, but socio-psychological relations. The potential danger of psychological violence lies precisely in communication within the “teacher-child” and “child-child” dyads.

Conclusion

The study of psychological safety in institutions of a special type revealed clear differences in the general index of psychological safety. High safety indicators at the boarding school indicate a favorable atmosphere for adolescents to live and learn, to create an atmosphere of trust and emotional well-being for all participants in the educational process. The study showed that the psychological safety of adolescents in institutions of a special type is affected not by training, but by socio-psychological relations. Thus, the study made it possible to identify the peculiarities of the psychological safety of adolescents in institutions of a special type and to prove the specific influence of communication and interpersonal relationships on the psychological safety of adolescents.

Acknowledgments

This article was prepared with the support of the project of the RFBR Grant 18-413-530002 “Psychological and pedagogical conditions for the formation of a psychologically safe educational environment as a factor in preventing deviant behavior in children with disabilities”.

References

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About this article

Publication Date

26 August 2020

eBook ISBN

978-1-80296-086-0

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European Publisher

Volume

87

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1st Edition

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Subjects

Educational strategies, educational policy, teacher training, moral purpose of education, social purpose of education

Cite this article as:

Kalashnikova, M. B. (2020). Psychological Safety Of Adolescents In Institutions Of A Special Type. In & S. Alexander Glebovich (Ed.), Pedagogical Education - History, Present Time, Perspectives, vol 87. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 492-498). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.02.64