P. Usha

Lakshmi S.



Deterioration of mental health of the youngsters is one of the problems of the world today.Mental health of an individual is equally important to that of his physical health.A person is said to have good mental health when he succeeds to maintain harmonious relationship between himself and his environment.For a nation to progress, its citizens have to be both physically and mentally healthy. Kerala has a leading role among the other Indian states with regard to literacy and the physical health of its people.At the same time, growing evidences suggest that there is a gradual deterioration in the mental health level of its people. The outcomes of mental health problems are stress, frustration, irritability, mistrust, isolation and alienation.Many adolescents resort to socially destructive and personally devastating ways of coping this stress. The very high suicide rate in Kerala is comparable to the highest rates of suicides in the world. The most unfortunate and astonishing thing is that the number of adolescentsí suicides in the state is increasing. Statistics reveals that the alcohol consumption has also increased in the state. This is also evident from the long queue of youngsters and adults in front of the liquor shops.Besides, there is an increasing rate of crime, drug-addiction, self-harm, running away from home, depression, stammering, bed wetting, nail biting, etc. among the adolescents.All these are the manifestations of the outcomes of mental health problems, which may range from simple behavioural problems to varying degrees of psychiatric problems. All these point out to the need for a study on the mental health of adolescents in Kerala. ††††††††† Mental health is a broad term which involves a complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of any diseases.It is an important aspect of one's total health. Social interest, concern for others, a cooperative approach to the life and striving for ideal community promote both physical and psychological well being. It is an adjustment of an individual to the environment with maximum efficiency and comfort. The present study was taken up to find out the influence of parenting style and self-compassion on mental health of secondary school pupils.



*To study the main effect of Parenting Style and Self-Compassion on Mental health for total sample and sub samples.

*To study the interaction effect of parenting style and Self-Compassion on mental health for the total sample and sub samples.



1. The main effect of Parenting Style and Self-Compassion on Mental health for the total sample and sub samples on the basis of sex, locale and type of school management will be significant.

2. The interaction effect of Parenting Style and Self-Compassion on Mental health for the total sample and sub samples on the basis of sex, locale and type of management of schools will be significant.




Mental health is the key to wholesome adjustment (Scott, 1961; Nunnally, 1961; Smith, 1961).It is the freedom from disabling and disturbing symptoms that interfere with mental efficiency, emotional stability or peace of mind (Maslow, 1954). According to Meninger (1945), it is the ability of human beings to adjust to the world with maximum effectiveness and happiness. Parenting style denotes the extent of parentsí demandingness (control, supervision and maturity demands) and responsiveness (warmth, acceptance and involvement) in overall development of the child.For the present study, authoritative parenting style is considered. Authoritative parenting style is an effective style of parenting in which the parent is warm and loving, yet sets well defined limits that he/she enforces in an appropriate manner.Authoritative parents are demanding of and responsive to their children, and also clearly communicating expectations and rules. Neff (2003) derived the construct "Self-Compassion" from Buddhist psychology. Self-Compassion entails being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self critical, perceiving one's experiences as part of larger human experiences rather than seeing them as isolating and holding painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than over identifying with them. Though the construct has its origin from the eastern philosophical thought, the investigator could find only a very few studies in India during the review of related literature.Therefore, the present study done on a sample from Kerala becomes significant.



The present study is conducted on a representative sample of 500 pupils of standard IX from 6 schools of Pathanamthitta and 3 schools of Alapuzha district of Kerala state. Samples are drawn by proportionate stratified sampling method giving due representation of factors like sex, locale and type of management of schools.



The tools were used for measuring the variables of the present study were: 1.Parenting Style Inventory (Usha and Sindu, 2004); 2. Self-Compassion Inventory (Usha and Lakshmi, 2007); and 3.Mental Health Status Scale (Usha, Anil & Remya, 1999).


Statistical Techniques

The study used two-way analysis of variance with 3x3 factorial design for finding out the main effect and interaction effect of Parenting Style and Self-Compassion on mental health of secondary school pupils.



The main effect of Parenting Style on mental health was found to be significant at 0.01 level of significance for the total sample (f = 13.390) and the sub samples based on sex (for boys, f = 5.012 and for girls f = 4.991) and locale (for urban, f = 7.420 and for rural f = 4.120) at 0.01 level of significance. The main effect of Parenting Style on Mental Health was found to be significant for Aided school pupils (f = 10.761) at 0.01 level but it was found not to be significant for government school pupils (f = 0.542) even at 0.05 level of significance. The main effect of Self-Compassion on Mental health was found to be significant for the total sample (f = 12.084) and the sub samples based on sex, (for boys, f = 15.167 and for girls, f = 7.691), locale (for urban, f = 11.448 and for rural, f = 6.161) and type of school management (for aided, f = 9.626 and for government, f = 14.835) at 0.01 level of significance. The interaction effect of Parenting Style and Self-Compassion on Mental health was found not to be significant for total sample (f = 0.851) and sub samples based on sex (for boys, f = 0.375 and for girls, f = 0.175), locale (for urban, f = 1.558 and for rural, f = 0.727) and type of school management (for aided, f = 0.689 and for government, f = 0.849) even at 0.05 level of significance.



Today, much importance is being given to mental health and related areas because it is found that a poor mental health condition may prevent an individual from doing any progressive activity.Mentally healthy people are able to fulfill their social roles successfully.They enjoy peace of mind, happiness, self confidence and other's company. Today's children are tomorrow's citizens.So, they must be brought up as citizens with good mental health. For that we must be aware of the variables that affect one's mental health.From the present study, it can be concluded that parenting style and self-compassion influence the mental health of secondary school pupils.



In order to improve the Mental health of pupils, parents should consider the following suggestions.They must never set rules, requirements and restrictions. They must encourage healthy bi-directional communication with their children. They must provide their children with a rationale for their actions and priorities. They must accept the child's uniqueness. They must encourage the child to correct mistakes and develop capacities. They must give enough freedom to the child so that he can develop at his own place. Parents and teachers can do the following to raise the self-compassion and thereby the mental health of pupils. If a parent or a teacher identifies a self-critic child, they must help him to understand the fact that all human being have got their own limitations and therefore failures can happen to anyone who is fully human. Thus, the child may learn to forgive his limitations and failures rather than being a self-critic.In instances of pain, help him to correlate his experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as isolating.When the child faces failures, parents and teachers must point out where he has gone wrong and remind him about his previous achievements so that he regains self-confidence and self-kindness. Whenever the child succeeds, parents and teachers must be careful to appreciate the child at his success so that he feels proud of himself. Schools can adopt the following measures to promote the mental health of students. Conscientizing parents with regard to their influence on the child's mental health, arranging classes and lectures by experts on self-compassion and mental health and discouraging unhealthy competition among students.There must be provision for counselling in school and the counselling services in school must include facilities like psychological testing materials for assessing one's mental health. Thus, parents, teachers and school play a significant role in promoting the mental health of children.By promoting a child's mental healthy they are helping the nation because a mentally healthy citizen directly or indirectly becomes an asset to national progress.



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