This study examined the social factors predisposing deviant behaviour as perceived by secondary school students in Edo Central Senatorial district. The study was especially undertaken to examine students’ perception of peer influence, parental influence and home influence as a social factors responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district. The study also investigated the influence of gender and school location on their perception of factors predisposing deviant behaviour. The descriptive design based on survey method was adopted for the study. A questionnaire titled: Social Deviant Questionnaire (SDQ) were administer to 319 students drawn from a population of 15,931 Senior Secondary School (SSS) students in the 70 secondary schools in Edo Central Senatorial District. The test-rested reliability was used to determine the reliability of the instrument which produced an r-value of 0.74. Mean ( ) and standard deviation (S.D) was used to analyse the research questions while the t-test statistical analysis was used to test the hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. Result from the analyses showed that the students have positive perception towards peer influence, parental influence and home influence as a social factor predisposing deviant behaviour in secondary school in Edo Central Senatorial district. The test of hypotheses showed that gender and school location have a significant influence on the students’ perception of social factors predisposing deviant behaviour in the study area. It was recommended that principals in secondary schools should introduce some kind of reward system for students that portray exemplary behaviour to reward and reinforce discipline behaviour among learners.
Background to the Study
Social factors are factors interacting with a person’s social environment that could influence or induce positive or negative behaviour in a person at school, at home or in a society. Douglas & Strauss (2007) noted that social factors relates to factors influencing ones psycho-social development and how interaction with one’s social environment influence how a person behaves. It was first commonly used by psychologist Erik Erikson in his stages of social development in the school and home to include: lack of proper interaction with teachers and students; inefficient school administration; unqualified teachers; large and oversized schools; overcrowded classrooms; disjointed family (of students); peer pressure, domestic violence and parental influence or inadequacies among others.
Peer pressure, domestic violence and family/parental, influence been identified as social factors by Erikson (1964). Therefore, the perception of students about them will be the focus of this study. Peer, directly or indirectly influence adolescents to indulge in risky behaviour. Direct peer pressure may occur in the form of encouragement in anti-social or deviant activities like rape, theft, substance abuse, among others. On the other hand, “indirect peer influences can occur when youth associate with peers who drink or smoke, take harmful drugs (Douglas &Strauss, 2007). Therefore, it perhaps becomes problematic as children grow seeing their peers as role model.
Family or parental influences, has also been identified as a social factors. The place of the family or parents as the first agent of a child’s socialization holds a significant place in character formation of a child. From birth, a parent will mold and shape behaviours suitable to the norms of society through childrearing. If parents act in a negative way, the child is more likely to follow their parent’s negative attitude. They are also more likely to generalize this attitude to the rest of the society. Thus, parents could have much influence over their child’s behaviour.
Learning acceptable behaviour is a part of socialization process of a child at home. Osarenren, Nwadinigwe and Anyama (2013) noted that the negative aspect of family life is the effect of home conflict or domestic violence on children. From in frequent slaps, pushes, grabs, or shoves to frequent and severe life-threatening assaults, domestic violence in its various forms could affect a child’s upbringing and social consequences. Domestic violence between parents and children, children and their siblings, children and their loved ones at home could influence how they behave to others and their perception about things. Hence, children could be severely traumatized by witnessing domestic violence or being victims of the conflict themselves.
Children and youths are very valuable human resource because they ensure the continuity of any society. Deviant behaviour is also common among them (youths) especially in their formative years when character is formed to suit the expectation of the family and the society. Deviance is behaving contrary to acceptable norms and expectation of a society. Every society has specific behaviour standards and ways in which people are supposed to act. Sometimes these are the paradigms for predictable behaviour in the society. It can be described as a violation of culturally acceptable norm or a failure to conform to set rules and ways of doing something that is traditionally prescribed.
A behaviour considered as deviant in one society may be seen as non-deviant in another society. For example, the traditional African social custom appreciates chastity, modest dressing, good morals, decent behaviour, and respect for elders, handwork and integrity and frowns at premarital and extra marital sexual relationship. It also prohibits marriage between same sex such as homosexuality and consanguine sexual relationship. The Nigerian society frowns at alternative marriage styles and parenthood, for example, single parenthood and cohabitation. In some other societies, these unacceptable behaviours may be acceptable. That is why; deviance is relative to time and place.
Deviant behaviour in a society are not limited to what goes on within the school system alone. Factors beyond the fence of the schools such as family background, socio-economic status of the child, imported culture, role models in the community, peer influence are some of the causes (Dalhatua & Yunusa, 2013). Teachers are sometimes blamed for being incompetent in teaching children the right morals in class. This could be wrong since teachers are not the only influencing factors inside the school and therefore cannot be blamed wholly. Also, inclining educational problem on educators could be incorrect as no general agreement has been reached as to one single cause of deviance in today’s society.
Deviant behaviours include but are not limited to: truancy, anti–social behaviour, disrespect for constituted authority, sexual harassment, rape, arson, destruction, delinquency that are portrayed by children and adolescent. Adesoji (2010) attributed this menace to peer pressure. He noted that youths break away from their families and try out different roles and situations to figure out who they are and where they fit into the world. Hence, they spend more time with their friends and less time with their families. This is a normal, healthy stage of development, but the growing distance between parents and their children and the increasing importance of friends can be a source of conflict and anger within the family.
The desire to impress friends and be accepted by peers is one of the strongest forces in adolescents that leads teenagers to do things that they know are wrong, dangerous, or risky. This is what Adesoji (2010) described as “peer pressure”. According to Him, peer pressure is the influence exerted by a peer group in encouraging a person to change his or her attitudes, values, or behaviours to conform to the group. On the positive side, the pressure to keep up with the peer group can also inspire teens to achieve goals that they might never aim for on their own. This explains why most young people prefer to be in the company of their peers, who offer mutual support in contrast to their parents, who they perceive as authoritarian.
It is the zeal of every reasonable parent to address the changing behaviour of their children. However, high increase in juvenile delinquencies, high rate of early school dropouts, increase in street children and high rate of crime, both in towns and communities, could be linked to poor parental guidance in the early child development (Melgosa, 2002). He asserted that majority of the children involved in deviant behaviour, are either staying alone, staying far from their parents, with their peers or were brought up in a violence environment. Most of them also opt to engage in detrimental lifestyles of drugs, alcoholism, and sexual crimes. This explains why alcoholic parents, parents with criminal behaviour and parents with discipline systems which are strict, too lax or inconsistent, broken homes or those with problematic relationships; also tend to influence delinquent behaviour in children.
The home or family also may contribute to deviant behaviour both at childhood and adulthood (Hagan & Foster, 2001). An intact family can be said to be a functioning union between a mother and a father, so when a break up exist, the turmoil may affect a child to a greater extent. A functioning family is beneficial to a child than a dysfunctional one. Family separation could result in child neglect which generally could lead to a child’s deviant behaviour like leaving home, hooliganisms, stealing, drug addiction and alcoholism among others. If a person is brought up in a violence prone environment, his/her emotions could be influenced negatively to engage in deviant activities or indiscipline behaviour.
Statement of the Problem
The issue of deviant behaviour among students in Nigeria has become worrisome in recent times. It is observed that many students are found to disobey school rules and regulations, engage in drug abuse, truancy, raping, pilfering, abortion and having unlawful association. Some of these students are sexually precocious, indolent and disobedient to parents, destroys public properties in a protest. In the process of being deviant, many children of school age dropped out of the school only to become hoodlums and miscreants in the society. Another worrisome situation is the neglect of parents’ roles by so called ‘working parents’.
Many parents nowadays have left their responsibilities to school teachers. Observation has shown that one of the reasons usually given for the neglect of parental roles is that many parents give much priority to their occupation at the expense of their children; hence, they are left to the care of teachers. Since students often experience different people with different types of behaviour in their daily lives; they therefore tend to display different characters in different situations. Sometimes they are excited, happy, aggressive, sad or in a deviant mood. Consequently, there are alleged cases of teachers being threatened by students in the course of discharging their lawful duties in secondary schools around Edo State. In some cases, the attacks have been violent. In the midst of these problems, Nakpodia (2010) noted that there is a growing debate over the declining standard of education due to incessant student unrest and the attendant blame on teachers.
Furthermore, there are instances whereby students assault their teachers with weapons, use abusive and offensive language on their teachers, threaten or intimidate their teachers with positions of their ‘highly placed’ parents. The problem now is rather alarming and jeopardizing the administration of most schools. Adesoji (2010) tried to identify factors predisposing deviance when he argued that affiliation with deviant peers predicts deviant behaviour more strongly than community, school, or family characteristics. Hagan & Foster, (2001) asserted that parental influence or the family contributes to deviant behaviour both at childhood and adulthood while Osarenren et al (2013) found that deviant behaviour is traceable to domestic violence.
In Edo State, a knowledge gap exists on the social factors responsible for deviant behaviour from students’ perspective. Hence, the problem of this study is to determine the social factors predisposing deviant behaviour as perceived by secondary school students in Edo Central Senatorial district.
Purpose of the Study
This study examines the social factors predisposing deviant behaviour as perceived by secondary school students in Central Senatorial district of Edo State. Specifically, the study
- examine students’ perception of peer influence as a social factor responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district .
- find out students’ perception of family/parental influence as a social factor responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district .
- determine students’ perception of home/domestic violence as a social factor responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district.
- determine whether male and female secondary school students’ perception differ on the social factor responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district.
- determine whether students’ perception of the social factors responsible for deviant behaviour differ by school location in Edo Central Senatorial district.
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
- What are students’ perceptions of peer influence as a social factor responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district?
- What are students’ perceptions of parental influence as a social factor responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district?
- What are students’ perceptions of home influence as a social factor responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district?
- Do male and female secondary school students differ of their perception on social factors responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district?
- Do urban and rural secondary school students differ of their perception on social factors responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial districts?
The research hypotheses were formulated for the study:
- There is no significant difference between male and female secondary school students on their perception of the social factors responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district.
- There is no significant difference between urban and rural secondary school students on their perception of the social factors responsible for deviant behaviour in Edo Central Senatorial district.
Significance of the Study
This study helps to unveil to parents, school administrators, school counsellors, teachers, and prospective researchers the social factors for deviant behaviour among secondary school students’ perspective in Edo Central Senatorial District. The study was of benefit in the following ways:
To parents, the findings will help parents to know the influence of domestic violence in contributing towards deviant behaviour among students. Findings will also help parents to determine the influence of domestic violence on deviant behaviour among students.
The study helps school administrators to know the social factors responsible for deviance behaviour among students in the school system. Therefore, findings will help them to determine whether peer pressure is a factor predisposing deviant behaviour among students in secondary schools.
Findings would help school counsellors to determine the social factors responsible for deviance behaviour among students in Esan Central Senatorial District as perceived by students themselves. Therefore, finding out the social factors responsible for deviance behaviour among students would help school counsellors to ascertain whether referral, counselling, orientation, or consultancy among others is what will be appropriate for addressing deviance among youths in the area of study.
Findings would be of benefit to teachers in that result would show them the influence of parental and home influence on students’ deviance behaviour at school. Specifically, recommendations from this study would help teachers to ascertain their roles as ‘loco parents’ in resolving such influences on students’ deviance behaviour.
Lastly, the findings from the study contribute to knowledge and provoke further researches on this area that will lead to the production of more empirical data. Thus, this would be of benefit to prospective researchers who could consider undertaking further studies on the topic the future.
Scope of the Study
This study examined the social factors predisposing deviant behaviour as perceived by secondary school students in Edo Central Senatorial district. The study covered all the senior secondary schools students (SSS) in public schools in the area of study. The social factors of focus in this study include: peer, parental and home influence. The study also investigated the influence of gender and school location on students’ perception of the aforementioned social factors that could be responsible for deviant behaviour in the area of study.
Definition of Terms
The following terms were operationally defined for the study:
Social factors: This refers to those factors interacting with a person’s social environment that could influence or induce positive or negative behaviour among students at school, home or in the society. In this study this factors include: peer influence, parental influence and home/domestic violence
Deviance: Deviance is behaving contrary to acceptable norms and expectation of a society.
Peer pressure: This describes the influence exerted by a peer group to make individuals to change their attitudes, values, behaviour in order to conform to group norms.
Home influence: This refers to all forms of frequent slaps, pushes, grabs, or shoves and severe life-threatening assaults witnessed by children (or the ones they are directly involved in), in a domestic environment that could affect a child’s upbringing and emotions.
School location: This refers to the area a school is built.
Rural schools: This refers to secondary schools located in the outskirt or outside the local government headquarters.
Urban schools: This refers to secondary schools located in the local government headquarters.