Psychopathology – The Prevalence Amongs Hawkers

Psychopathology – The Prevalence Amongs Hawkers: A Case Study Of Enugu Metropolis

Psychopathology – The Prevalence Amongs Hawkers: A Case Study Of Enugu Metropolis

Hawking has been defined as “the offer for sale, by going from house to house or street to street”. It is a system of trading, where by the trader carries his wares about (oxford Advanced learner’s dictionary of current English).

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Aiyeluro, (1979) street hawking is the process whereby the hawker hawks his goods by carrying the goods on his or her head by means of a tray, or minor forms of transportation like wheel barrows, bicycles, trolleys etc. in search of customers in the process of which he could employ the use of bells or shout the name of the item he or she is hawking in order to attract the attention of any interested customer.

Anyanwu, (1992): it is therefore a trading activity that involves movement across house or street with certain articles usually food or household commodity advertised by the seller through shouting the name of the item, ringing of bell or the like.

Street hawking especially by children constitute a social problem. It exposes the hawker to road accident, excretion, thirst, and hunger since he mores from place to place. The street hawker comes into contact with all sorts of people including those with ignoble intentions.

Children who engage in hawking often do not attend school and when they do, they may not concentrate on their studies due to distractions. Their attention is often drawn to opportunities of earning money thereby not taking their studies seriously.

Ofordile (1986) observed that early exposure of the child to search and desire for money will not doubt make the juvenile to acquire dishonest behaviours. According to him, not all children render the correct account of what they sold. Instead, some amounts are kept off for buying groundnut, Ice cream and so on, the next day.

He added that it is most likely that when such money cases to come, the child may already start learning to steal small amount of money from home to maintain his or her acquired lifestyle.

Vinolia and Fubara (1988) described street hawking as an aspect of child abuse and neglect. They argued that certain economic and socio-psychological factors induce street hawking which they added have damaging effects on the developmental processes of children although they did not indicate whether the practice is associated with psychopathology.

Other studies show that hawking exposes children to sexual abuse and as such, the trade could be classified as a high risk behaviour in the content of human immune virus (HIV) infection and spread.

Ebigbo and Abaga (1990) interviewed 100 hawkers and non hawkers in Enugu aged between 8 and 15. they discovered that 5% of the hawker as against 9% of the non hawkers have had sexual intercourse (sexually abused) out of this number (67), only 7 reported the event either to the parent or guardians and only one was reported to the police although it did not lead to an arrest because the assailant escaped before police arrived. Half of them would either be raped or enticed to sexual intercourse and virtually all of them will be sexually molested through touching, optical and verbal enticement to sexual stimulation”.

Olatawura and Odejide (1976) on the actiology of psychological disorders in children have implicated persistent absence of father, separation of parent, material and emotional deprivation.

Nzewi (1989) Observed that intra-psychoic theorists see psychopathology as reflecting the operation of the unconscious anxieties, tension, repression and other defensive manoeures which have persisted from early childhood.

Million (1973) observed that the concept can be approached differently thus “on a behavioural level, for example, disorder could be conceived of as a complicated pattern or response to environmental stress.

Street hawking predisposes individual to adverse group influences. Social psychological researches have shown that people influence one another and this influence is more fundamental during earlier formative years. Thus people especially children who engage in hawking are likely to exchange experiences for example a male hawker who has learnt to correct some harm with the packaging of the edible wares he carried as a way of dealing with hunger. While on the street may teach the same to his colleagues, a female counterpart who “gained” small amount of money in exchange for sexual exploitation may expose other girl hawkers to the high risk behaviour. These adverse influences have for reaching implications for these hawkers.

Studies indicate that most children who hawk are motivated by poverty. Either that the parents do not earn enough money or that they have a lot of children to take care of. This often results in sending these children to the street to supplement family income or giving them out in marriage too early or as house helps.

Information at the child abuse and neglect monitoring centre, African Network for the prevention and protection Against Child Abuse abb Ne dect.


The study aim at establishing whether the act of hawking is related or associated with psychopathology in other words, is psychopathology a side-effect of street hawking? In the process, it will want to know whether male hawkers will show symptoms of psychopathology more than their female counterparts. This study will also inform us whether there is a significant difference between those who have hawked a year or below and those that have beyond one year experience. In addition, it will indicate whether there is a significant effect of living with one’s parents or without one’s parents. That is if hawers who live with this parents will manifest different degree of psychopathological symptoms from those who live with people other than their parent.


It is important for us to understanding what we do, why we do it and what potential gain or danger it holds for us.

In this end, the hawker, parents and relations, the government and the society at large need to be adequately informed on the cognitive, behavioural, medical, social or in fact psychobisocial effects of hawking. In this respect, the study will establish empirically wetter hawking is associated with psychopathology with a view to advising parents and guardian accordingly.

It will complement and facilitate the activities of non-governmental organization which are interested in prevention and protection against child abuse and neglect, child right monitoring, and primary health care of children and young person.

The study will also provide a database for the government and other health policy markers on the implications of street hawking. This may help to attract the attention of the relevant government organs towards appropriate legislation to discourage or at least ameliorate the hazards associated with the trade.

In addition to the foregoing, it will provide social workers and other health workers with information on the nature and prevalence of psychopathology among hawkers. Such information may facilitate rehabitation of such individuals.

Apart from drawing attention of this hitherto neglected aspect of the impact of street hawking, it is hope that the study will help to promote the campaign against hawking and as such contribute to better humanity whose young ones will no longer be exposed to the hazards of street life


Following the dearth of literature on the psychopathological implications of hawking, a gap exists in the understanding of what specific impacts hawking may have especially on children and young persons. Partly due to the present level of development in Nigeria, enough attention and resources have not been focused on biosocial cum psychological aspects of this trade.

Again, the culture has been identified as a sustaining agent of hawking. Some parents and guardians see street hawking as a socialization process relying heavily on their own development experiences for example that is, that they hawked when they were children and so tend to see nothing wrong with the trade.

This is most regretable. These parents fail to understand that time are changing that society has degenerated so much from what it was such that each day a child is sent out to hawk, he/she is increasingly being exposed to risks and hazards every minute. In olden times, It was not common in Nigeria to hear of rap, to hear of an old man having canal knowledge of a six years old girl (ANPPCAN case report 1991-1993) to hear of day care kids hired for begging (National concord newspaper of Wednesday 17 February 1993) or orphanages in kids sales scandal (Lagos weekend Newspaper of Friday 3 march 1993). All these point to deteriorating moral standards which the child hawker has to contend with.

The economy on the other had has been blamed even parents who may be aware of the dangers of street hawking have had to send out their wards to the streets on the ground that their income is not enough to meet with family expenses. They send the children to the street to earn more income for the family. These parents exploit their children and predispose them to life-long damaging influence. Children are not goods to profit from but human beings equally endowed and entitled as any other adult. This study therefore hopes to empirically throw light on the prevalence of psychopathological symptoms among Hawkers so as to fill the existing gap in information on the effects of hawking. Do these symptoms manifest more in male than in female hawkers?


a. A child or young persons:

A child or young persons as used in this paper is any person below the age of 18. This definition is consistent with the international labour organization (ILO) decision in 1973 in relation to child labour and which states, among others, that “each member for which convention is force undertakes to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of child labour and a raise progressively the minimum age of admission for employment or work to a level consistent with the fullest physical and mental development of young person. The minimum age for admission to any type of employment or work which by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out is likely to jeopardise the health, safety or moral of young person shall not be less than is years.

b. Hawking:

A trading activity that involves movement across houses or streets with certain articles usually food or household commodity advertised by the seller through shouting the name of the item, ringing a bell or the like.

c. Psychopathology:

This refers to psychological disturbance as contained in the Awaritefe psychological index form c (API (c).


This state of affairs has led to a dearth of relevant literature on the impact of hawking on the manifestation of psychopathological symptoms.

Okpara (1988) interviewed 50 hawker’s in Enugu and found that 60% of the parent (father) attended only primary school and were engaged in semi-skilled and unskilled work, 20% had no formal education and were either trading or farming 6% had teacher training collage certificate but were retried and 14% were engaged in unclassified activities. He added that the main motivation for hawking were lack of money in the family (60%); need to assist relations and parent (18%), parent wish (20%) others (2%). These hawkers according to the study, had certain general characteristics. None of the parents lived in a flat apartment rather in single rooms where kitchen, toilet and bathing facilities were shared. In terms of modern household facilities, they had only radio but no television sets. The hawkers themselves indicated that they had no time to recreate (watch football, play games). Most of them slept about six or more in a small room apartment. Almost all indicated that breakfast was virtually absent. 44% tasted alcohol (bear, palm wine, kaikai), 60% had dropped out of school for different reasons. A look at these condition may suggest that they tend to induce stress with potentials for psychopathology.

Evidence abounds that hawkers face high accident rates. Okpara (1988) opined that hawkers experience fatigue arising from staying long hours standing or running after vehicles to sell their wares in excessive heat of the day. This inevitably creates the possibility of being hit by a moving vehicles, since some of these hawkers sell to passengers in slowly moving vehicles such as during hold-ups or which often force drivers not to accelerate.

In some cases, these hawkers do not collect all their money from their sales. This is usually because when such vehicles pass the traffic jam, they accelerate and the hawkers can no longer meet to collect their money. As such, these hawkers do not only loose money out suffer more frustration.

Some are beaten at home for incomplete account which complicates their frustration and emotional. This in addition to other difficulties, may explain why some hawkers often look very unhappy and some what depressed. Despite these observations, there has not been any study (to the best of the knowledge of the present author) to show whether these observations on the hawkers have implication for psychopathology.

Added to the foregoing, the child street hawker faces a lot of emotional trauma and abuse. He is denied of the family atmosphere as he spends his life on the street hawking. What is more, some of these hawkers are not happy with their trade. They feel compelled to do it. Cognitive therapists believe that the unacceptance of an individual’s position or circumstances may bring him stress. It may make him/her feel frustrated, dejected, dominated or humiliated.

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Nzewi (1989) Observed that conflicts and failure to achieve adequate social, cultural, emotional and psychological adaptation and adjustment are etiological factors in psychopathology. However, her observation was not based on the study of hawkers.

The pathological impact of hawking by children is suspected to be more wide spread when viewed against the background of peer group. As they go round the streets, these young persons who need warmth and protection fall prey to peer group influences. The reference group provides the necessary support which the family cannot give the hawker and unfortunately expose the child to other undesirable influences. Some are introduced too early into sex, others into smoking and use of drugs and alcohol beverages. They also suffer violence or bully from bigger member’s of the group or from the public. The proper emotional needs of these children hawkers are not met.

Kalu (1988) observed that the process of emotional developments in an aspect of human behaviour.

He defined abuse and neglect in “terms of conditions which undermine healthy and maximum development of potential. Thus issue of abuse and neglect in “terms of condition which undermine healthy and maximum development of potentials. Thus the issue of abuse and draws itself closer in terms of prevailing conditions which discourage development of social, emotional, physical and mental potentials” typical of which is child hawking.

Quay (19646 Kessler (1986) found a positive link between disturbed emotions in children and behaviour problem or pathology of aggression, neuroticism, conduct problems and juvenile delinquency. Apart from the above, emotional disturbance also affects the adjustment pattern of individuals. Psychoanalysis believes that psychological disturbances or psychopathology arises as a result of the inability of the ego to bear the conflict arising between the operations of the ID and the superego.

This conflict often presents itself in form of unbearable distress which the ego tries to accommodate through “defensive means” such as somatization or hysteria etc. Since the child hawker is highly susceptible to emotional and physical distress, the likeli hood of his developing psychopathology may seem obvious but this has to be investigated empirically. Lord morse and Newman (1965) associated certain personality characteristic with emotionally disturbed individuals. These include energetic tension or excitability, impatience, attention seeking, impulsivity, worry and easy frustration.

Hawking may be described as a life event. A life event is an environmental circumstance that has an identifiable onset and ending and may carry a potential for altering an individual’s present state of mental or physical well being. This should be discriminated from other forms of longer-term social experience which may carry same or similar effects but do not have readily identifiable onset or endings.

When the latter are considered undesirable, they are generally referred to as long-term difficulties (Goodyer 1995). Life events and difficulties have been the subject of much investigation as potential causes of major depression in adults and more recently in children and adolescents (Brown and Harris, 1978; Goodyer, 1991; Berney Bhate, Kolvin, 1991).

There is evidence to support the clinical observation that children and adolescents expose to undesirable events and difficulties in the recent past are at a significantly increased risk for major depression and other types of psychopathology.

(Berden, Althaus and Vertulst, 1990; Goodyer, 1991) consistent with findings in adults, it is only moderate to severely undersirable life events which are significantly associated with depressive disorders in school age children (Goodyer, Kolvin, Gatzanis 1985;1988)

Depression refers to a disorder that involves physiological and cognitive functioning as well as dysregulation of mood (mccauley, kendall and pavlidis, 1995).

Kolvin (1995) saw it as an illness characterised by a change in mood that is persistent and sufficiently severe for it to be labelled as a disorder.

Paykee and priest (1992) as well as Ramana and Paykel (1992) have classified depression into two major distinctions bipolar and unipolar affective disorders and psychotic (or endogenous) and neurotic (or reactive). Using the international classification of diseases (ICD-CD), they observed that a single depressive episode is distinguished from recurrent disorders and there is also a group of persistent affective disorders.

There grades of severity are noted. These are mild, moderate and severe. The term “somatic syndrome” indicates the presence of endogenous or biological symptoms, the term “psychotic” the presence of delusions, hallucinations or depressive stupor; finally “dysthymia” has been included as a persistent affective disorder.

In adults, there is a variation in clinical features of depression. For example, Gelder, Gath and Mayou (1990) observed different variations of unipolar depressive syndrome in adults. The core features they noted are low mood (dysphoria), lack of interest, lack of enjoyment (anhedonia), reduced energy, psychomotor retardation, irritability and agitation; negative cognitions such as thoughts of hopelessness and worthlessness, sleep disturbance, diurnal variation of mood, loss of appetite loss of weight, and hypochondrical complaints.

It is also important to note that some individual use bodily language as symptoms of depression. Morakinyo (1983) observed that Nigerians use bodily language (somatization) to manifest depression. In children, depending on severity, the indications of depression, although they may follow a basic general trend, may be less symptomatic.

Kovacs (1986) argued that many children may be neither unable to distinguish between basic emotions nor have the ability to give account of the presence and severity of these emotions. He added that children may not be capable of reporting the symptoms thought to be representative of major depression disorders.

Verhulst (1989) added that it is probable that despair and a sense of hopelessness do not fully surface before adolescence a stage when formal operational thinking emerges. However, current research (Barett, Berney, Bhate, 1991) has shown that by school-age, children are capable, reliable and valid informants of their current mental state. In explaining the findings of Kovacs (1986) and Verhulst (1989), Kolvin (1995) suggested that the pattern of depressive symptoms is likely to vary according to age and stage of development of the child or young adolescent, indicating that there may be a difference in the clinical expression of depression at different ages.

Aetiologically, some risk factors have been associated with psychiatric (including depressive) disorders in general. These are low socio-economic status, high life stress, low academic achievement, and various measures of family disharmony and disorder.

(costell Goodyer (1995) concluded that the absence of social support is an independent causal factor in the onset of depression and poor social support at the time of depression is related to a longer course. Social support is taken to mean the availability and adequacy of a confiding relationship (Brown and Harris, 1978).

Studies (Goodyer, Wright, and Altham. 1988; Goodyer, Wright and Altham, 1989; Goodyer, 1991 have shown that some 50% of depressive episodes in young people are preceded by either an undesirable event of difficulty or a combination of both. The determination of whether undersirable event is moderate, or severe depends on the individual’s perception. As such hawkers who see hawking as distressing are more likely to be affected by the practice unlike those who do not see it as so.

In an exhaustive reviews of comorbidity in depression, merikangas and Angst (1994) noted that anxiety frequently co-exists with different degrees of depression (depressed mood, depressive syndromes and depressive disorders).

Fleming and Offord (1990) found 20-70% concomitant anxiety disorder among depressed children. Evidence shows that comorbid depressive disorders have a more severe presentation and course and longitudinal studies of epidemiological and clinical sample suggest that anxiety disorders are often antecedents of depressive conditions (Angst, Vollrath, merikangas and Ernst, 1990; Kovacs; paulauskas, Gatsonis and Richards, 1988; Rohole and seeley, 1991).

Epidemiological data have also demonstrated unequivocally that depression is more often associated with other disorders than would be expected from their chance of co-occurance based on the base rates of individual disorders (caron and rutter, 1991; Angold and cortello, 1993). Evidence also suggest that there is a high degree of overlap between emotional and behavioural disorder (Rutter, Tizard Yule; 1996.

Fombonne (1995) noted that besides the impact of major, discrete events, attention has been focused on the important role of daily chronic stressors and strains, which seem to constitute the link between major stresses and psychological dysfunction (see also compas and wagner 1991). Added that too recent prospective studies have shown that daily hassles were predicative of subsequent adolescent emotional distress over a one year (compass, Howell, phares, Williams and Giunta 1989) and two year intervals (Dubois, felner, Brand Adan and Evans, 1992).


By a theory of psychopathology, we refer to an explanatory theoretical framework logically articulated by one or a group of experts with regard to development and pattern of psychopathology. About six theories of psychopathology will be discussed below.

These theories differ one from another in their basic concepts of human behaviour as well as their emphasis on life experiences.

For example, while some concentrate on early childhood experiences, others believe on the cumulative impact of whole life experiences.

These theories include biophysically, intrapsychic phenomenological socio-cultural, behavioural and the intergrative theories.


This group of theorists notably Emil Kreapelin and Engen Bleuler believe that defects and deficiencies in the biophysical system bring about the development of psychopathology.

They believe that imbalance in understanding the aetiology of psychopathology, they argue that diagnosis should focus on these physical methods such as drugs, surgery etc. in treatment.

According to millon (1973), evidence from the medical sciences exist to support this model. Documented evidence about infections, genetic errors, obstructions, inflammation or other insults manifest themselves overly as fevers, fatigue headaches etc. He added that this theory views psychological disorders as manifestations of defects and deficiencies affecting the central nervious system (CNS) with correlative pathological, behavioural, and social symptoms as well as physical symptoms such as defects and deficiencies of other organ systems of the body (not the CNS).

However, while this theory can explain a lot of physical illness conditions and some psychopathological ones such as syphilis-related psychosis, organic mental and drug-related disorders, it is difficult to use this theory to convincingly explain neurotic conditions. It, for example may not explain feedings of anguish, poor interpersonal skills e.t.c. experienced by individual; thus the need for other theories to explain these.


This theory draws it’s basic foundation from the work (psychoanalysis) of Sigmund freudwho emphasized the impact of childhood experiences as determinants of disorders of adulthood.

According to Freud, the first few years of life are critical in determining what the adult becomes. Events in later life are mere unfoldments of what has been formed during the critical period.

In the same vein, intrapsychic theorists believe that psychopathology is a direct product of continued and insidious operation of past events.

In other words, present pathological experiences can only be understood in relation to past experiences of the individual. It represents an adaptive strategy of the individual in response to anxiety and threat.

As such, diagnotic attempts often focus on unveiling past difficulties to consciousness. Basic to adult psychopathology according to this theory are childhood unresolved conflicts and anxiety as well as their consequent defensive maneuvers. In this sense, intrapsychic theorists concentrate therapeutic efforts on freeing the inhabited ego through awareness making of the pathogenic latency beliving that bringing the unconscious conflicts and anxiety to conscious resolution is therapeutically effective.

According to million (1973) “it is the search for these unconscious processes that distinguish intrapschic theory from others. The obscure and elusive phenomena of the unconscious are the data which they uncover and the use for their concepts. These consists first of repressed childhood anxieties that persist within the individual and attach themselves insidiously to ongoing experiences, and secondly, of unconscious adaptive processes which protect the individual against the resurgence of these anxieties”.

Drawing from the above theory, one may then suspect that since hawkers undergo a lot of trauma (sexual, emotional, physical, social) there is a possibility that they tend to repress these experiences and conflicts which after some time may be a basis for the development of psychopathology. Psychoanalytic psychologists believe that every impression must have an expression, somewhere, sometimes, somehow.


Phenomenology as a school of though in psychology emphasized the subjective perception of the world as the only real experiences of the individual.

An individual reacts to the world according to how he sees it rather then how it is. Phenomenology believed that psychopathology develops when an individual abandons his real or inherent potentials and feelings for imposed ones.

According to phenomenologist in their explanation of pathological patterns, an individual strives for congruence between his concepts of self and experience. If there is any disharmony between these two, the individual uses defence mechanism or strategies. However, when these defence mechanisms fail, anxiety as well as consequent disorganization is experienced. According to Frankl (1962) a feeling of an inner void and empitiness as well as meaninglessness, that life is completely futile leads an individual to neuroticism.

Using this explanatory, model, a hawker who is unhappy with his trade suffers a reasonable degree of frustration and disappointment and may develop a tendency to see life with rejection and despair and as such worthless against the background of the stress associated with hawking.

This perception oriented approach (phenomenology) may explain to a large extend the possibility of the development of psychopathology among hawkers.

The inner on iness occasioned by the street life of the hawker complicated by street hazards and prolonged treating in search customers could develop into some types of self of alienation, a tendency to live to the expectation of buyers thus separation from one’s real self, a lack of true, self identity which does not only head to ego identity crisis but has implications for sever psychopathology.

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However, phenomenology is not the only theoretical explanation for the development of psychopathology especially since its focus is on the subjective as opposed to objective experiences of clients.


This theory views the development of psychopathology or deviant behaviour as resulting from social leaning and tries to see both the cultural and society as key determinants.

Sheff (1973) believed on the impact of cultural influences in maintaining deviant behaviours and that stereotyped imagery of mental disorder is learned in early childhood; that much of this imagery comes from the influence of peer groups not adults. As pointed out earlier, the hawker is highly exposed to the influence of the reference group who in many are usually hawkers and as such susceptible to pathological behaviours.


The behavioural theory derived mainly from the work of John B. Watson who basically pursued scientific psychology. He believed that both normal and abnormal behaviours are governed by the same principles of learning. According to this theory psychopathology is brought about by objective behavioural proceses and not internal phenomena such as unconscious conflicts and anxiety dispositions. It believes that pathological behaviour result from inappropriate learning history and that through reinforcement or lack of it, adaptive or maladaptive behaviours develop.

Using this stimulus-response paradigm, it is possible to explain the apparent loss of inhibition a tendency towards insulting others, and occasional unhappiness demonstrated by a good number of street hawkers as resulting from a learned response to exposure and stress associated with hawking. By walking from street to street, some of them are sexually exploited and “reinforced” by taken gifts of money or goods. Other learn to tell lies to steal, to aggress and are often traumatised variously. Due to the fact that these experiences are continuous (from day to day) they come to live with them as normal and consequently develop maladaptive or pathological behaviours of personalities.

This theory is adopted as the most appropriate for this study. This is motivated by the fact that the climax of the effect of hawking can be summarized as learning or experience. Hawking exposes children to different abuses, accidents, exploitation and trauma. All these bring about inappropriate or maladaptive learning and development.


This theoretical view assumes that no one particular theory can explain completely the actically of psychopathology rather it believes on an eccled approach to the explanation of the phenomenon.

Observes that theories which concentrate attention only one level of data cannot help but generate for Lations that are limited by their narrow preconception it sees psychological phenomena are multi-determine and multi dimensional and as such need various approaches. Form this point of view psychopathology can be explained not only according to biophysical, psychoanalytic phenomenological behavioural or socio-cultural but also involving a combination of these.


Anyanwn (1992) in a study on the effect of street hawking on the academic performance of children (a case study of Abakpa Nike Enugu). Found that male hawkers, (P<.05), also the hawkers living with their parents performed better than female hawkers performed better than those not living with their parents (P.< .05). However it can be assumed from this result, the fact that male hawkers are less affected academically by hawking then their female counterparts implies that hawkers who live with their own parents are better adjusted (hence the better academic performance) than those living with non parents. The present study seeks to test that assumption.


1. There will be no significant relationship between hawkers and non-hawkers in manifestation of psychopathology.

2. There will be no significant relationship between male and female hawkers in manifestation of psychopathological symptoms.


This section is divided into four major areas, these are:

a. Subjects

b. Instrument and validation.

c. Procedure

d. Design


100 Subject were used for the study comprising 50 hawkers and 50 non hawkers. Out of the hawkers, 25 were males while 25 were females. Their ages ranged from 12 t0 17 years. The subjects were either attending secondary school (most of them) or stopped after primary school. They were randomly drawn from four layouts of Abakpa Nike, Uwani, New heaven and Obiagu all in Enugu.

These constituted the experimental group.

The control group on the other hand were the non-hawkers. These were the senior secondary school, I, II and III, students of university of Nigeria secondary school Enugu campus who were also randomly selected. The idea of selecting the senior classes was to get subjects whose ages were similar to those of the experimental subjects and who in addition could understand or respond to the items of the questionnaire without language assistance. Their ages ranges from 12 to 17 years as well.

Although over 70 Hawker’s responded to the questionnaire, some of them refused to answer some questions or were impatient to respond to the whole questions to the end and so made their own questionnaires invalid, thus there were only 50 well completed questionnaire.

For the control group 56 questionnaires were administered but only 50 were selected. The other 6 were rejected due to either excessive mutilation or other reasons.


The Researcher was interested in finding out how the independent variables affect the dependent variable.

The following are the independent variable Hawking and sex.

The dependent variable on the other hand is manifestation on psychopathological symptoms.


The instrument used in data collection is the Awaritefe psychological index form c (API (c). It is a personality inventory with 51 items that discriminate individuals on the basis of psychopathology.


The instrument is an indigenous assessment device which has been used very widely in Nigeria. The author in the original publication of the test (Awaritefe, 1982) administered the AP1 (c) and the Maudsley personality inventory (mp1) to 65 patients attending the obstetrics and gynaecology clinic of the university of Benin Teaching Hospital Benin City as part of routine clinical check. He reported of a positive cor-relation of .49 at p<.05 between AP1 (c) and mp1 Nscale. He also reported that three scoring keys or subscales were developed using criterion keying in a trial run involving 11 male schizophrenics, 10 male depressives and 12 anxiety patients. He concluded that these subscales successfully isolated these patient group at P<.05 level.


The reliability co-efficients both co-efficient Alpha (k-R20) and the test retest reliability range in the .80’s (Awaritefe, 1982).


The response pattern to the instrument was to elicit any of the following options viz.

Strongly agreed.




Strongly disagreed.

Scores were assigned to the responses which were as follows:

Strongly agreed 5

Agreed 4

Undecided 3

Disagreed 2

Strongly disagreed 1


The first stage was interview hawkers randomly selected on the items of the questionnaires. However, conscious effort was made to balance the subjects on the relevant independent variables of interest such as sex, hawking. This made the period of data collected a bit longer (one month). Each hawker was invited as if the researcher just wanted to buy something from him or her only. The hawker was asked how much she sold her ware as orange e.t.c.

In the process, a discussion ensued which would deepen rapport. Some quantity of the ware was then bought from the hawker. Therefore he/she will be told that there ware few questions which the researcher would like to ask him/her thereby enlisting his/her co-operation. Knowing that the sex of the hawker was obvious (that is whether he was male or female), the researcher then started with less sensitive questions in order not to elicit defence from her/he.

First, the hawker was asked for how long he/she had hawked, (below or beyond one year) and then the hawker’s ago. The answers to these initial questions would help the researcher to know whether the required number of that category of hawking has been got or not. Thereafter, the researcher would then proceed to the main body of the questionnaire or not. As much as possible, the subjects were required to fill the questionnaire themselves except where they needed assistance or translation to local language. About 20 to 25 minutes was required to administer one questionnaire.

The second stage involved non-hawker who were student of the university of Nigerian secondary school Enugu campus as reported earlier. The researcher first got permission from the authorities of the school. Then the assistance of one of the guidance counsellors of the school who was more familiar with the students was enlisted. With her, subjects were randomly selected from the senior secondary one, senior secondary two and senior secondary three (SSI, SS2 and SS3) classes of the school. In order to ensure that these students did not also hawk after school, they were asked if they hawked before being included in the sample. The questionnaire were then given to them with copies of the following instruction.

“please student, we are conducting a study that needs your co-operation, kindly read through the instructions on the questionnaire and respond accordingly if you do not understand anything or have problems, kindly call our attention by raising your hand. Do not try to ask your neighbour. Ensure that you do not omit any question. There is no time pressure.


The correlation design was used for the study properly. The correlation design was used for the two hypothesis


This section presented the results of the statistical analysis of the two hypotheses of this study. These included determination of whether there was a significant relationship between hawkers and non hawkers in the manifestation of psychopathological symptoms, whether there was a significant relationship between male and female hawkers in the manifestation of psychopathology.

These results are presented below in the sequence of the hypotheses. They represented they performance of both the experimental and control groups on the Awaritefe psychological index form c.


Mature of subjects No of subjects Raw scores Mean Standard deviation

Hawker’s 50 4,657 93.1 4.2

Non-hawker’s 50 3,990 79.8 3.9

From the above table, it can be seen that there was a mean relationship between hawkers and non- hawkers on psychopathological symptoms. The means showed that hawkers exhibited more features of psychopathology then non hawkers as measured on the Awaritefe psychological index form c.

However, for more empirical confirmation of the observation, correlation statistics was employed thus:


Subject No of subject Mean


SD DF Calculated value Table value Leve of significant

Hawkers 50 93.1 4.2

49 2.1 .268 0.05

Non hawkers 50 79.8 3.9

Total 100

The above table shows that the calculated value (2.1) was greater than the table or critical value (.268) at p> .05.

Since the calculated value was greater than the table value, we rejected the null hypothesis. This then implies that, is a statistical significant relationship between the Hawkers and non-Hawkers in the manifestation of psychopathology with hawkers showing significantly more psychopathological signs than non hawker’s.


Mature subject No of subject Mean

X S.D DF Calculated value Table value Level significant Significance

Male 25 88.8 5.54

24 0.037 .388 0.05


Female 25 92.24 4.75

Total 50

The mean score above shows that mean relationship exist between male female Hawker’s in the manifestation of psychopathology.

The above table also show that the critical table of (.388) was greater than the calculated value of 0.037. Thus P<.05.

Since the calculated value was less than the critical value, we accepted the initial hypothesis or (alternative hypothesis) no statistical significant relationship between made and female Hawker’s in the manifestation of psychopathology.


From the preceding chapter, it can be seen that there was a significant relationship between hawkers and non hawkers in the manifestation of psychopathology with hawker showing significantly more psychopathological indication than non hawkers. Further more, there was no significant relationship between male female hawkers in the manifestation of psychopathology.

The fact that how hawkers showed a significant indication of psychopathological symptoms as demonstrated by the present study confirms the finding or Alpert and Mcnemarra (1985) who argued that hawking exposes children and young person’s to different forms of abuses. They concluded that these early-in-life abuses often traumatize these children and may form a bedrock for psychopathology much later in life.

Fombonne (1995) note that besides the impact of major discrete events, attention has been focused on the important role of daily chronic stressors and strains, which seen to constitute the link between major stresses and psychological dysfunction.

The researcher noted in the course of administering the questionnaire that some of the hawkers looked very paranoid in their behaviour. Apart from showing signs of insecurity as to the purpose of the interview despite explanation to that effect, they often considered the interview period a waste of business time. They seemed very worried and unstable preoccupied with the determination to exhaust all their wares before the end of the day. The necessary childlikeness and simplicity characteristics of children were lacking, rather a tendency towards maximisation of profit and business opportunities was predominant.

Some of the female hawkers showed high sensitivity to dyadic male-female situations. They prefferred to be interviewed in the proximity of another person preferable a fellow female. This attitude, the researcher suspected may been have a conscious attempt to avoid closeness with a male which behaviour may be borne out of experience of sexual exploitation.

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This correlated positively with the result of study by Ebigbo and Abaga (1992) in which they interviewed 100 hawkers and 100 non hawkers aged 8-15 years and found that 50% of the hawkers as against 9% of the non hawkers had sexual intercourse. All the foregoing may help to explain the high psychopathological symptoms prevalent among hawkers.


It has been shown that hawking is an unhealthy practice as it is associated with psychopathological symptoms parents who send their children or wards them the streets with hope of making extra one or two should henceforth be aware of the dangers to which will subject such children. This is more serious because street life is capable of inflicting pernianent damage on the physically, mental, social and emotional health of an individual. It is man’s inhumanity to another if despite these revelations, people still expose other to hawking. It is as serious as actually killing such children since such trade may lead to their death. Think of a small girl hawker who was raped by a human immune virus (HIV) carrier or another killed by an on-coming vehicle as she tried to cross the street to attend to an impatient customer. Parents and guardians should therefore be advised accordingly. Children hawkers do not only need to stop hawking but they need clinical attention. They need rehabilitation and reintegration.


The study has been able to establish that there was a significant relationship between hawkers and non hawker’s in the manifestation of psychopathology, that there was no significate relationship between male hawker’s and female hawker’s in the manifestation of psychopathology.

The findings of this study have demonstrated more empirically the hazardous effects of hawking especially by children and young person. Apart from retarding the growth and development of the individual hawker’s it exposes them, to physical mishaps, including road accident, sexual exploitation, moral abuse, deprivation, peer group influences in respect of drug abuse, stealing, wandering, and so on, all of which weigh the hawkers down psychologically and otherwise. Apart from contributing to the state of psychopathology, the overall adjustments of hawker’s are also affected.


One limitation of the study was that as a quasi experimental study.

In this research few of the hawkers showed signs of suspicion or discomfort during the interview. This may have also affected their responses.

Another major difficulty encountered was the financial involvements of the study. Due to the fact that the hawkers were mainly business-time-conscious, the only way of sustaining their interest was either buying their wares or giving them money directly.

Furthermore, it was not easy getting the actually number’s of hawkers to balance with the independent variables. This made the work relatively cumbersome.

Finally, the 51 item questionnaire used in data collection took remarkably long time to administer especially with the type of subjects involved. It was difficult getting hawkers who were sufficiently interested and ready to wait to go through the question.


Having seen that hawking is associated with psychopathology, it is recommended that parents and guardians desist from sending their wards to the streets for hawking. The dangers to the hawkers, his family, and the society are too great when compared with the meager monetary benefit.

The media should be involved in mass mobilisation against street hawking. This will help to change the attitude of Nigerians against hawking.

The non governmental organizations working in the field of child survival and protection should co-ordinate their efforts in helping child hawkers with self-help strategies. They can gather them in the streets and give them simple lectures on safety, health etc. These enlightenment programmes may go a long way in protecting the hawkers from the hazards of street life.

Above all, parents should develop the attitude of having only the number of children they can comfortably train. This is very important since the major motivating factors for hawking is economic. Those children who are already hawking should be withdrawn and send for psychological rehabilitation and reintegration.

Governments at all levels in Nigeria should also ban hawking by children and young person. They should make hawking a punishable offence in which the parents or guardians of the offenders are also responsible. To make the laws more implemented, governments should build small shelters in the streets where those items often hawked by children can be sold. This will in addition make hawking unattractive since the wares hiterto hawked will still be very accessible.


Based on the findings and the experience drawn from this study, the following areas recommended for further research.

1. What is the effect of hawking on self esteem, locus of control or other personality variables.

2. Does hawking predispose individual to aggression or, better put, to specific aggression for example, verbal, facial, physical aggression and so on compared with non hawkers.

3. It may also be necessary to compare hawkers with non hawkers on achievement motivation.


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Please tick the number you feel most appropriate to you on how you feel about it. There are no right or wrong answer.

Name ———————————–Date—————-

Age ————————————-Sex—————–

Do you attend school yes ————– No —————

What class are you in —————————————

Hawking experience years or below ———————–

Above one year ———————————————-


1 After a day hawking I feel drowning.

2 I sleep too much.

3 I am always frightful.

4 Often, I wake up too early and cannot sleep again.

5 I has poor sleep always because I went to bed late.

6 I am always thinking on how to handle my poor condition.

7 But, my thought is blocked by.

8 I always forget easily.

9 I cannot concentrate for ones.

10 I am suddenly confused.

11 People are after me and made me feel inferior.

12 I cannot see well in the night.

13 My head is always hot.

14 I feel heat all over the body.

15 I feel some biting in my head.

16 I feel something moving in my head.

17 I feel something is carwling on my head.

18 I feel sad.

19 I am easily annoyed.

20 I feel life is not worth-living.

21 I am no longer enjoying the things I used to enjoy.

22 I am always Nervous (before seniors or Authority figure.

23 I am Tensed.

24 I am Dull, not lively.

25 I does not show interest in any useful thing.

26 I am always tearful (weeping.

27 I am always fearful (afraid).

28 I feel lazy to set up from bad in the morning.

29 I cannot sit quietly in one place for a long time.

30 I am always worried.

31 I am always shy.

32 I form the habit of talking to my self.

33 I talk excess.

34 I am show in speech.

35 I am Gazing into space.

36 I used abusive words.

37 I have frequent headaches.

38 I have pains in the head.

39 I experience coldness of the head.

40 I experience heaviness of the head.

41 I feel knocking sensation in the head.

42 I feel pains in the neck.

43 I have poor appetite.

44 I feeling stomach is turning.

45 I lossed weight

46 I feel weak always.

47 I feel pain in the chest.

48 My heart is always beating fast.

49 I am feeling dizzy (eyes turning).

50 I am sweating too much.

51 I feel pains in the eyes.

Psychopathology – The Prevalence Amongs Hawkers: A Case Study Of Enugu Metropolis




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