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This study examined the impact of broken homes on academic performance and psychosocial adjustment of secondary school students in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State. The descriptive survey design was used in this study. The research instrument used for this study was a questionnaire tagged (BHAP) which was adapted by the researcher. The population of this study covered the teachers in selected secondary schools at Kosofe Local Government, area Lagos State where data was collected using simple random sampling. Collected data was analyzed using chi-square and descriptive statistics. Demographic data such as gender, age, and qualification were used. Findings showed that broken homes has a significance on student’s academic performance. It was concluded that there is a significance difference between students from broken homes and students from intact homes. It was therefore recommended parents should be educated on the importance of living together and the negative effect of broken home on the academic, social and emotional state of the child.




1.1     Background to the Study

Family is the basic unit of a society and it’s the most important component of the society. According to Alfred Adlers (1973), a family which parent are separated or divorced would affect the individual because every child has a problem in which both the mother and father are to attend to, for example the mother is supposed to teach the child some moral attitudes or behavior while the father is supposed to teach the child (son) how to be a responsible man and to be responsible for the society and to be able to overcome the individual psychological problems like problems of work, problem of friendship, problem of love. It may be alternated to the word “house” but a house is more appropriately referring to the material structure whereas home refers to the intangible things that bind together the family members. It has the immeasurable love and care that keeps together the mother, father and their children. The family is an essential factor for a human well-being, everything about a man, his background, attitude, all his achievements, his honour and dignity, rallies on the structure of the man’s family. Marriage on the other hand can be seen or viewed at as a legal union of two people i.e. a man and woman in love as husband and wife. In Nigeria marriage is regarded as an institution which every person gives much importance.

Umahi, (2009) states that, marriage is a system by which a society recognizes a man and a woman bounded by love to stay together as couples, have a sexual relationship and expect children which they will bring up together. In Nigeria when a person is married he or he is expected not only to have children but also to give them the psychological emotional, moral and economic support with adequate education which will be of help to them in future. Couples have the duty to give their children education which will enable them live happily, be stable emotionally, and acquire worthwhile knowledge, understanding and skills.

Egbo (2012), views broken home as a place where the parents engage themselves in quarreling, fighting suspecting, keeping late hours to the detriment of the children’s primary drive for food, sleep and other basic needs. Broken homes could be due to divorce, separation or death. If there is no love, understanding and peace in the home children suffer and pay severely for it. Those children may be defective behaviorally and often they are not given worthwhile education training and skills which in turn may have a carryover effect which is always detrimental to the progress and stability of the society. Studies have shown that divorce though frowned at is on the increase amongst our youths. Hake (2000) lamented that after couples have made solemn and sacred contracts before the public, friends well-wishers and family members as their witness to be together till death put them apart, the same couples fall victims to broken home within a short period in our modem society.

When a home is broken, affected in many ways for example are the girls who may run into men in order to pay their school fees. Some of them may get pregnant in the process which might which might warrant them to quit schooling entirely (Okoye, 2001). Nwosu (1991) noted that some girls take to prostitution in a bid to also pay their school fees which may be difficult for their single parent. Boys also may give in to robbery roistering in the school, joining criminal gangs and exhibiting all form of social vices.

Empirical evidence has equally shown that children from intact-homes will be well taken care of and better socialized life for example a child with a good mother and father care whereby serves as a good model to the child in which the child does not turn into a deviant and more also, peer pressure challenges would be avoided through the supervision and help of both parent. This is due to the fact that the process of socialization depends on both parents playing complimentary roles in raising such children; which will definitely impact positively on the later during school years. On the other hand children from single parent homes are likely to suffer deprivations and denials of some rights and opportunities that will have negative psycho-socio impact on them in school years. Studies have equally shown that children from broken homes are usually associated with anti-social behaviours and poor academic records.

Adolescence in simple terms is a distinct phase of life. From Literature it is a period of 13-18 years of an individual’s life. It is a period of rapid psychological and social expansion. Agubosi (2003) stated that it is the era of peer grouping when the adolescents spend most time with their age group. This stage is a period of storm and stress (Bolarin 1999, Olayinka 1997) and identify formation (Osarenren 2001) Adolescence is a transitory period between childhood and adulthood. During this period an individual is seen neither as a child nor an adult. Hall in Salami & Alawode (2000) claimed that adolescents are characterized by emotional instabilities and hyperactivities, which cause them to experience storms and stress. Erickson in Salami & Alawode (2000) opined that identity formation creates tension in the adolescents to the extent that some of them become confused about their personality.

The period of adolescence is very important to development of an individual. Any laxity on the part of the parents in assisting and guiding the adolescents may result in academic backwardness and development of unwholesome behaviours. The foundation of what a person becomes in the society is laid in the home and at the initial stage of life. Parents therefore have important roles to play in seeing to it that the youths acquire the appropriate social, psychological, moral and academic development.

In Nigeria, the parental roles are culturally determined. Maternal role is that of childcare and home making while the paternal role is that of economic responsibilities and discipline of children. Generally, it is the responsibility of the family, to train and bring up the child in the norms and values of the society. They are to be responsible for the psychological and emotional welfare of the child. The parents are mainly responsible for the educational and career development of their children. However, divorce and separation of various kinds or death of one spouse may leave the role in the hands of a single parent. Single parenting can be defined as a situation in which one of the two individuals, involved in the conception of the child is being responsible for the upbringing of the child Henslin (1985). The family lays the foundation of education before the child goes to school and the personality that the child takes to school is determined by the home Maduewesi & Emenogu (1997). Fadeye (1985) in Salami & Alawode (2000) pointed out that both parents have roles to in child education. The father is to provide the necessary tools for the educational advancement while the mother is supposed to supplement the father’s efforts in this regard. When the father is absent and the mother is not privileged enough to cater for all the basic needs as well as supervise the academic performance of the child he/she (the child) will be backward or withdrawn. The same thing occurs when the mother is absent and the father is not privileged enough Ortese (1998).

A single parent faces doubled responsibilities requiring time, attention and money of the parent. Hence, less attention is paid to the psychological well-being and education of the child. Children from single-parent homes are commonly described as more hostile, aggressive, anxious, fearful, hyperactive and distractible than children from intact families Nwachukwu (1998). The concept of adjustment is associated with what may be called living systems: system of organs, psychological systems or personality systems, In the process of adjustment, forces are balanced naturally within the system with forces originating from the environment. The immediate goals of the process may be characterized generally as a type of equilibrium with the system and in the interaction of the system with the environment. Generally, adjustment refers to an individual’s general adaptation to his environment aid the demands of life such as the way he relates to other people that is interpersonal behaviour, handles his responsibilities, deal with stress, for example inadequacy in learning, growing up and meeting his own needs and life satisfactions.

Adjustment is not a one way process in which the individual conforms to the duties and requirement of others but rather a two way process, for it is the ability to be oneself, hold on to one’s own and make reality adapt itself to one’s requirement and needs. It does not imply a state or condition of contentment or pure mind. Since life is constantly changing, the ability to revise ones attitude and behavior appropriately is essential ingredient of adjustment. Psycho-social adjustment is easier when the individual is educated & free from family conflicts. There are several issues an individual needs to adjust to in life, academic, psychological, social-life, marital life, job experience etc. For the adolescence academic challenges & problem: from home are one of (he issues they may need adjustment.

Secondary school students that are from broken homes are likely not to perform well and are usually withdrawn, shy and anti-social among their mates. The psychologists theorize that individual who is emotionally healthy is the one who has learned to cope effectively with himself and his environment since the environment is in a constant state of flux and the adolescent is continuously developing and changing; psychological effectiveness or good mental health is an ongoing process and not static achievement. The term mental health is really a description of behavior. If a person’s social and personal behavior appears to be reasonably well integrated, he/she appears to be reasonably happy. If the society approves of his/her behavior, his/her means of coping therefore, with himself and his environment may be more effective. Thus he/she may be psychologically healthy or well adjusted (Mickelson, 2001). This study therefore seeks to highlight and enumerate the impact of broken home on academic performance and psychosocial adjustment of secondary school students in Kosofe Local Government.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

There is a global awareness of the importance of the home environment on student’s academic achievement. In Nigeria, most homes are not intact as a result of incompatibility of the couples, death of a parent and the quest for oversea trips to make more money, and at times marital infidelity. This has resulted in the separation of couples and children. In some states in the federation, this is quite clear that most young ladies abandon their homes, and embark on oversea trips with a view to making money. Also, some men who travel abroad, abandon their homes and would not communicate with the families back-home, so, children from such homes are in dilemma, especially in terms of adjustment. Chador (2008) notes that the environment in which a student comes from can greatly influence organization of the family and by extension; effect a child’s emotion, personality and academic achievement. Bearing in mind the role of the family, a child’s education, the failure of the family to perform its duties could hinder the child’s academic achievement. Any nation that is desirous of advancing technologically will no doubt ensure that the future of her future leaders (the adolescents) is well guided, protected and guaranteed.

Furthermore, a single parent faces doubled responsibilities requiring time, attention and money. Hence, less attention is paid to the education of the child. The teacher commonly describe children from single parent homes as more hostel, aggressive, anxious, fearful, hyperactive and distractive than children from intact family (Nwachukwu, 1998). Children from broken home exhibit behaviours like drug abuse, smoking, drunkenness, sexual abuse, truancy and disrespect for elders at the detriment of themselves, their family and the society as well.  

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of broken home on the academic performance and psychological adjustment of secondary school students in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State. The specific objectives hence are:

i)  To determine the impact of broken homes on students’ academic performance.

ii)  To establish if there exist any difference between students from broken homes and their peers from intact homes in academic performance

iii)  To determine the impact of broken homes on student’s psychological adjustment

iv)  To ascertain the gender impact of broken home on students’ psychosocial adjustment.

1.4     Research Questions

In order to realize the above objectives, the following research questions were raised.

1.  To what extent will broken home impact students’ academic performance?

2.  What is the diffidence between students from broken homes and their peers from impact homes in academic performance?

3.  To extent do broken homes impact students’ psychosocial adjustment?

4.  What is the gender of broken home on students’ psychosocial adjustment?

1.5     Research Hypotheses

1.     There is no significant impact of broken homes and students’ academic performance.

2.     There will be no significant impact of student from broken homes and their peers from intact homes in their academic performance.

3.     There will be no significant impact of broken homes and students’ psychosocial adjustment.

4.     There will be no significant gender impact of broken home on psychosocial adjustment.

1.6     Significant of the Study

The study will assist teachers, counsellors, child psychologists and administrators to have a better understanding of the factors that affect secondary school students from broken homes in relationship with their academic performance and psychosocial adjustment, so that they can better appreciate the behaviours and attitudes of the children they teach or counsel.

Moreso, children in broken homes would be limited due to the awareness cut across by the impact of broken homes on children psychosocial and academic performance. This knowledge will put them in a good stead to help and add value to the life of these adolescents. It is also hoped that the result of this study will help practitioners to develop appropriate counselling techniques and programmes which if implemented will decelerate the speed at which broken homes is increasing; seeing that broken homes does not lend itself to the balanced moral, emotional, physical, social and educational development of children of such background.

1.7     Scope of the Study

This study will be carried out at Kosofe Local Government in Lagos State, which is located in South West region of Nigeria in West Africa. The study will be limited to Senior Secondary school students (SSS II) in selected schools in Kosofe Local Government.

1.8     Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms used in the study, have been operationally defined:

Academic Performance: This is how pupils are ranked in terms of educational achievement.

Family: It is a social unit made up of people related to each other by blood, birth or marriage.

Adjustment: A small alteration or movement made to achieve a desired fit, appearance, or result.

Impact: This means to have a powerful effect on something or someone. It can also refer to a force that drives someone into behaving in a certain way.

Adolescence: The transitional period between puberty and adulthood in human development, extending mainly over the teen years and terminating legally when the age of majority is reached.

Broken Home: A family in which the parents are divorced or separated. Psychosocial adjustment can be defined as the adaptive task of managing upsetting feelings and frustrations and preserving an emotional balance.

Marriage: Marriage is the approved social pattern whereby two people establish a family. In another point of view, marriage is a legally and socially sanctioned union between a man and a woman that is regulated by laws, rules, customs, beliefs and attitude that prescribe the rights and duties of the parents.

Nuclear Family: The nuclear family is a small unit consisting of a man, his wife and unmarried children. In the nuclear household the parents are sole authorities and emotional relations among family members are concentrated and intense.

Intact families: Refer to families in which both biological parents are present in the home

A home: The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.

Academic Performance: This could be seen as students reporting of past semester CGPA/GPA and their expected GPA for the current semester

Psychosocial Adjustment: This is the psychological and social aspect of a child’s behavior which has been affected by his/her environment.

Gender: This is the differentiation between male creatures from female ones biologically.


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