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The desire to undertake this study arose from the alarming rate at which delinquency as a social menace has affected secondary schools in Imo State in general, and Owerri Municipal in particular. This therefore has called for a need to find out the main causes of delinquent behaviour among secondary school students and recommended ways by which delinquency can be reduced in the schools.

The data for this study were collected from a sample population of one hundred and fifty respondents, forty students from four different secondary schools comprising of both males and females. The instrument used was questionnaire and it contained twenty four questions which are on the causes of delinquent behaviour among secondary school students. Four research questions were asked. The result of the study revealed that delinquent behaviour among secondary schools students are caused by several factors. These include the parental socio-economic status, the influence of mass-media, home-related factors and the influence of parental occupational background. Likely solutions were proffered to ameliorate this social menace.

            The study focused on identifying the influence of family types on juvenile delinquency among secondary school students in Nigeria. Based on empirical findings, three research questions were raised along with three hypotheses to guide the study. Using the multistage random sampling technique, 200 students were selected for the study from five public secondary schools in Uyo metropolis. The self-report Family Delinquency Questionnaire (FADEQ) was used for data collection. Frequencies and simple percentages were used to answer the research questions while the hypotheses

were tested statistically using the chi square statistic. The results indicate that three family variables namely: family stability, family cohesiveness, and family adaptability impact strongly on juvenile delinquency among secondary school students in Uyo metropolis. The discussion was also put in the context of previous findings. Based on these

findings, the counseling implications were proffered.

Families are the strongest socializing forces of life. They teach children to eschew unacceptable behaviour, to delay gratification and to respect the right of others. Conversely, families can teach children aggressive, anti-social, and violent behaviours. Also, children who are rejected by their parents, who grow up in homes with considerable conflicts, or who are inadequately supervised are at the greatest risk of becoming delinquent. Adolescence is a time of expanding vulnerabilities and opportunities that accompany the widening social and geographical exposure to life beyond the school or family, but it starts with the family.

During the past century, significant changes in family arrangements have occurred, modern family structures vary widely. Its form is diversifying with, for example, the increase in one parent families and non-marital unions as well as extended family arrangements. Differing family structures may directly impact on the stability of the family, home and the functioning of children and adolescents. Family type refers to the way family members interact with each other, that is, levels of adaptability, cohesiveness and communication demon-

          Adolescent problem behavior, including substance use, school misconduct and delinquency, is a national concern. Implicit in the concept of middle school is the recognition that students who develop positive social bonds with their school are more likely to perform well academically, and refrain from misconduct and other antisocial behavior. However, little scientific attention has been given to the complex interactions between middle school students and the school environment. Prior to implementing a middle school problem behavior prevention program we conducted a survey in the seven middle schools in one US school district. Out of 4668 grade 6–8 students enrolled, 4263 (91.3%) completed the survey. Student–school bonding was positively correlated with school adjustment (r = 0.49) and perceived school climate (r = 0.77), but inversely correlated with problem behavior (r = –0.39 to –0.43). Problem behavior was significantly higher (P < 0.001) among males than females and among students in higher grades. Conversely, school bonding, climate and adjustment were significantly higher (P < 0.001) among females than males, but declined significantly from one grade to the next. The data support the conclusion that school bonding is associated with problem behavior. We describe the development of a multiple-component intervention in middle schools designed to increase student–school bonding and prevent problem behavior.




There have several reports and comments by the parents, school authorities and government, about delinquent behaviours being exhibited by adolescents in secondary schools all over the world. The word delinquent according to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary see it as not a serious crime which is usually committed by young people (i.e. teenagers). These delinquent acts include; stealing, lying, truancy, fighting, absenteeism from school etc. It is therefore no doubt that these delinquent acts have affected the nation as a whole. According to the philosophy of Nigeria Education which is derived from main national objectives plan that there are.

objectives in the building of the national development which are;

i.            A free and democratic society

ii.           A just and egalitarian society

iii.         United, strong and self-reliant nation.

iv.         A great and dynamic economy

v.          A land full of bright opportunities for all citizens.

Osokoya (1987) remarked that a nation that has her adolescent as delinquent cannot achieve all the above national objectives. The relationship between the parents’ socio-economic status and delinquency cannot be over-emphasized. This relationship really exists among the adolescents of various academic institutions. Following the idea of Manweber, which states that the socio-economic status is usually measured by the wealth a man possesses. For instance, assets like cars, buildings, investments etc. All these including the job or business which a man does are used to assess a person’s level of socio-economic standard, level or status.

       In studying the socio-economic status of any given individual, sociologists have therefore often relied on socio-economic indices, such as occupation, level of education and income. Based on all or one of these indications, the various socio-classes are usually organized into hierarchal structure.

       Students from high socio-economic status enjoy better living conditions. That is, they are provided with the necessary things of life such as good food, proper clothing, library, decent and comfortable accommodations and other facilities that can aid academic achievements. Also students from middle class are fairly provided with the above facilities that can also promote academic performance. But on the contrary, students from the low socio-economic class are provided with little or none of these facilities or materials mentioned above, of which will lead to the students performing below expectation and thereby generates into delinquent behaviours in order to survive.

       Similarly, parental socio-economic status could embrace the following like the income of the parents, the educational background, the number of wives being acquired by the father, the type of home the parents live in, inherited properly such as land, buildings, etc. Also possession of electrical gadgets such as television, stero video, refrigerator, air conditioner etc. All these consist of what could be regarded as the parental socio-economic status.

       Other factor influencing delinquent behaviour includes broken homes, peer group, the mass media, the school related factor, parent’s type of occupation and so on. It is due to these summed up factors and its negative effect on our society as a whole that raised our interest on this topic. The rate at which our adolescents take to delinquent acts in an alarming rate has to be checked. The solution has to be suggested in order to erase or reduce to a reasonable rate in our secondary schools.

          The dramatic increase in the prevalence of problem behaviors during adolescence is a national concern (Dryfoos, 1990; Feldman and Elliot, 1990; USDHHS, 1991). By grade 8, 31.5% use alcohol and 26.2% smoke cigarettes monthly, 44.2% have been in a physical fight in the past year, and truancy, bullying, theft and vandalism are common (USDHHS, 1989; CDC, 1990; Dryfoos, 1990; Johnston et al., 1994). While low-income, minority youth (Lorion et al., 1991) and those who experience family dissolution and transience (Furstenburg, 1991) are at greatest risk, a large proportion of adolescents eventually engage in some form of problem behavior, placing them at increased risk for school failure, involvement in the criminal justice system and health problems (Dryfoos, 1990; McCord, 1990).

Problem behaviors are of particular concern in middle school, where a contagious youth culture of academic negativism and misconduct can thwart learning and disrupt the school routine. Many early adolescents, engaged in an intense period of development known as the adolescent transition, are poorly prepared for secondary school and highly susceptible to antisocial influences (2Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989). However, there is theoretical and empirical evidence that changes in the way middle grade schooling is conducted can promote academic achievement, improve school conduct and mediate the initiation of problem behavior (Hawkins and Weis, 1985; Kumpfer and Turner, 1991).

Middle school was conceived of as an innovative means of easing the transition of early adolescents to secondary education by providing a social and academic environment that is appropriate to the developmental level of early adolescents. Middle schools so developed compete for students’ affiliation. Theoretically, well adjusted students who develop a positive affiliation, or social bond, with their school are more likely to remain academically engaged, and less likely to become involved in school misconduct and other antisocial behaviors, than students who develop a negative affiliation with school (Hawkins and Weis, 1985). While social bonding is not the only mediator of problem behavior, student–school bonding can protect students from the loss of academic ambition and the propensity for misconduct.

        In this paper we discuss student–school bonding as it applies to middle school and problem behavior prevention, present the findings from a survey of middle school students on school bonding, school adjustment and problem behavior, and describe the development of Going Places, a primary prevention program designed to prevent problem behavior by increasing school bonding among middle school students.

            The prevalence of violence and antisocial behaviour among campus students has constituted a great worry to the campus community, parents, governments and society at large. As a matter of fact, the rate at which youths vandalize both school and public properties during protests coupled with incidences of stealing, resisting authority, impulsiveness, rape, cultism, introduction of arms both to themselves and others, bullying, fighting and the use of fire arms among other acts of violence constitutes a threat to peaceful co-existence and societal serenity. Indeed, both fatal and non-fatal assaults, which involve young people, contribute greatly to the burden of premature death, injury and disability. Unfortunately, the consequences of campus violence do not rest only on the victims and perpetrators but also their families, friends and communities. This therefore attracts the attention of researchers to analyze and understand factors which determine this antisocial act as a way of finding solutions to the problem.

The construct „violent behaviour‟ is defined as behaviour that includes physical injurious attacks and life-threatening use of drugs, murder or suicide and the intent to cause physical injury, damage or intimidation (Elliot, Hamburg and WIlliance 1998; Divyer, Osher and Hoffman, 2000). Relating the construct to academic setting, Estevez, Jimenez and Musitu (2008) described a violent student at school as the one who fails to comply with the school‟s regulation and monitor the interactions in the classroom and the social setting through the European Journal of Educational Studies 5(1), 2013 20  punitive behaviours towards the others that imply manifest, relational, reactive or proactive aggressions, which, based on the estimation of Fagan and Wilkinson (1998), are due to different reasons such as achievement and maintenance of a high social status; to have power and control over other students; being “avenging” imposing their own law and social norms since they consider the existing ones unacceptable or unfair; challenging the authority and opposing the established social controls that they feel oppressive and to experiment new risky behaviours.


            The aim of this research work is on the influences of family and environment on our children in Awka South Local government Area in Ebonyi State. Much has been said on the influence of family and environment on the juvenile delinquent in most places. There is also another belief that children of nowadays challenge the authority of their parent. Some family still keep some moral norms and ethic while others have thrown them to the wind with the belief the social changes. Computer age and technology have made them of no effect; this is as a result of their pursuit for modernization and immoral wave that is sweeping across our nation today.

These problems arise and cause questions that need to be answered.

(i)Is there any influence between the family and environment on the behaviour of children?

(ii) Are there some forms of relationship between the two variables?

(iii) In what aspect do families and environment contribute to juvenile delinquency?

       The interest of this work is to ascertain the extent to which the parental socio-economic status affects the delinquent behaviour in Secondary School.

This work will also investigate some causes of delinquency in the secondary school.

This work will also seek to investigate the role of mass-media as a factor of delinquent behaviour among secondary school students.

It will also determine the extent to which home related factor and influence of parental occupation affect the delinquent behaviour of secondary school students

Finally, this research work will help to find out how the problems of delinquent behaviour among secondary school can be minimized.

                                                                                                                    Adolescent problem behaviors are associated with a host of negative health and social outcomes, including school failure, arrest, addiction, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, injury and death (Jessor and Jessor, 1977; Feldman and Elliott, 1990; Dryfoos, 1990). The prevalence of problem behaviors is relatively rare prior to middle school, but increases dramatically during adolescence. For example, less than 10% of sixth graders have used tobacco, but about 30% of eighth graders and 60% of 11th graders have. While only 5% of sixth graders have used alcohol, nearly 70% of eighth graders have (Johnston et al., 1994). Further, delinquency increases 10-fold from age 10 to 14 (Dryfoos, 1990) and experience with sexual intercourse increases from almost zero among preadolescents to 61.6% of ninth graders (CDC, 1995). These increases in prevalence occur among both males and females in all socioeconomic groups (Dryfoos, 1990; Johnston et al., 1994).

       Problem behaviors tend to cluster (Jessor 1984; Lorion et al., 1991), the presence of one increasing the likelihood of another. Also, problem behaviors tend to have common psychosocial mediators (Jessor and Jessor, 1977; Jessor, 1984; Perry and Jessor, 1984). Poor social skills, perceptions of low social competence, academic underachievement, negative attitudes toward school and lack of parental guidance have been identified as modifiable risk factors for problem behavior (Hawkins and Weis, 1985; Dryfoos, 1990; Steinberg, 1990; Schinke et al., 1991). Elevated and unrealistic expectations about the benefits, prevalence and social acceptance of problem behaviors also place youth at risk for engaging in these behaviors (Hansen and Graham, 1991). Conversely, a perceived social norm that is conservative, in the sense that it is consistent with the actual, relatively low level of prevalence among adolescents, is protective against problem behavior. Peer affiliation can be a risk or protective factor because adolescents tend to behave in ways that are consistent with the behavior of their friends (Jessor and Jessor, 1977; Kandel et al., 1986). Adolescents whose parents are demanding, involved and supportive are at lower risk of engaging in problem behavior than adolescents whose parents are uninvolved and unsupportive (Baumrind, 1991; Steinberg, 1990).

         The transitions to middle school and then to high school are particularly difficult for students who are academically or socially deficient (Entwisle, 1990; Seidman et al., 1994). The transition to middle school is notably difficult for students who fail to make friends with well-behaved children, lack the organizational and study skills required to keep up with assignments, and do not become involved in academic and co-curricular school activities. To protect themselves from feelings of failure and incompetence, students may become apathetic or develop anti-social attitudes and behavior. Often the school is the target of discontented students, who rebel against school rules, ignore academics, treat teachers and other students with disrespect, and vandalize school property and facilities.

The adolescent transition and middle school

Adolescence is typified by dramatic physical, cognitive and psychosocial maturation that varies widely in timing and tempo (Brooks-Gunn et al., 1985; Feldman and Elliott, 1990). Cognitively, adolescents’ abilities to deal with relative, abstract and social concepts gradually advances. Socially, the quality of relationships between early adolescents and their peers and adults becomes increasingly important in middle school. Psychosocially, adolescents continue to deal with the life-long issues of achievement and competence, while identity, autonomy, intimacy, sexuality and social status emerge as other dominant concerns (Steinberg, 1990; Steinberg, 1993). Clearly, educating early adolescents is a complex task, which can be all the more difficult when students dislike school.

Aside from school, few institutions and social programs are substantially devoted to adolescents. Participation in youth sports and recreation programs, for example, declines dramatically after elementary school (Smith, 1991; Seefeldt et al., 1993), and few supervised after-school programs are available for this age group (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1992). Hence, the school is the primary institution outside the family within which the development of adolescents can be directed and shaped. Within this context, adolescent problem behavior can be seen in part as the failure of schools to capture students’ sense of social affiliation and provide educational experiences and a social context within which adolescents can develop social competence (Harter, 1982) and experience success (Bandura, 1986). Youth who get off to a bad start in middle school are at risk for subsequent academic underachievement and problem behavior (Hawkins and Weis, 1985; Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989).

          Middle school usually includes grades 6, 7 and 8, when most students are early adolescents, 10–14 years old. A product of the progressive education movement of the 1960s, middle schools were conceptualized to serve the unique academic and social needs of early adolescents, providing a transition between the relatively safe and academically flexible environment of elementary school and the relatively competitive, rigid and impersonal environment of high school (]Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989).

             In practice many middle schools differ little from the junior high schools they replaced (Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, 1989; Magendollar; 1993; Wigfield and Eccles, 1994a). Relative to junior high schools, middle schools ideally have fewer students and are smaller overall. The curriculum is less hierarchical (e.g. grade 6, 7 and 8 math) and less departmentalized (e.g. math, English, science, social studies). Each grade is treated as a separate group or team. Student and staff team members have frequent opportunities to interact with and get to know each other in class and participate in co-curricular activities. Students in each grade are mostly separated from the students in the other grades to prevent bullying and to insulate grade-level norms. Tracking by academic ability is discouraged, while grading is flexible and individualized. The pedagogy favors problem solving, critical thinking, and interactive teaching methods within integrated and interdisciplinary curricula.

               Theoretically, these middle school innovations would facilitate students’ adjustment to school, enabling them to become involved in academic and co-curricular school activities, increasing motivation for learning, and decreasing motivation for misconduct and other anti-social behavior. Because underachievement and misconduct are two of the most important concerns of teachers and administrators, there is great interest in the concept and methods of increasing student–school bonding.

School bonding and problem behavior

Adolescents who form a positive affiliation or social bond with their school are more likely than adolescents who fail to establish this social bond to engage in a variety of prosocial behaviors and achieve up to their potential academically, and less likely to engage in problem behaviors such as fighting, bullying, truancy, vandalism and substance use.

The concept of social bonding arose from social control theory, which suggests that attachment to family and school, commitment to conventional pathways of achievement and beliefs in the legitimacy of societal order are primary elements of establishing a social bond (Hirschi, 1969). The theory and some empirical data suggest that social bonding is protective against anti-social behavior (Hawkins and Weis, 1985; Kumpfer and Turner, 1991; McBride et al., 1995). Similarly, bonding to the school, conceptualized by Hawkins and Weis (1985), includes attachment to prosocial peers, commitment to conventional academic and social activities at school, and belief in the established norms for school behavior.

Student–school bonding can be advanced by developing social skills and social competence, improving school climate, and encouraging authoritative parenting practices (Perry and Jessor, 1984; Hawkins and Catalano, 1990; Schaps and Battistich, 1991).

Social skills training

Middle school students have an acute need to demonstrate competence and be recognized for achievement (Steinberg, 1993; Wigfield and Eccles, 1994b). Those who feel blocked from academic achievement may be tempted to quit trying, misbehave or seek other anti-social avenues of achievement and recognition. If students do not develop the social skills they need to compete academically and do not have other opportunities for demonstrating achievement and competence within the school setting, they may develop antisocial attitudes and behavior (Hawkins and Weis, 1985; Steinberg, 1990). Conversely, students who are committed to school are less likely to engage in anti-social behavior than students who are uninvolved, alienated or hostile toward school (Elliot et al., 1985; Gottfredson, 1986; Schaps and Battistich, 1991; Kumpfer and Turner, 1991). Social skills curricula can improve self management and self control skills, thereby improving school adjustment and performance (Hawkins and Weis, 1985; Schaps and Battistich, 1991).

School climate

              School climate has an important influence on school bonding (Pyper et al., 1987). Students are motivated by an authoritative teaching style that is demanding, supportive and fair (Hawkins et al., 1988; Schaps and Battistich, 1991; Olweus, 1993). Students who like their classes, believe their teachers are supportive and fair, have good peer relations, and accept their school’s mission, values and standards are more likely to bond to the school. Student–school bonding may be improved by defining in positive ways the culture and personality of the school, establishing school policies and practices that are relevant and fair, and increasing opportunities for students to participate in school activities (Gottfredson, 1986). Participation in academic and co-curricular activities increases bonding because students are reinforced by their own success experiences and enjoy the opportunity to affiliate with peers and teachers who share their interests (Hawkins and Weis, 1985).

Parent education

Children are likely to place a value on their academic and behavioral performance at school that is equal to the interest and concern demonstrated by their parents (Steinberg, 1993; Paulson, 1994). Parents can be encouraged to establish high expectations, become highly involved in their children’s school life, and support academic achievement and school participation (Baumrind, 1991; Dornbusch, 1994).


1.          To find out some causes of delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Anambra state..

2. To evaluate the efficient and effective contribution of parents towards reducing delinquent behavioour among secondary school students in Nigeria especially, Anambra state..

3. To establish a relationship between socio-economic status and delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Anambra state

4.  To investigate if home-related factors and influence of parental occupations leads to delinquent behaviour of secondary school students.

 5. To identify the problems which the family and environment impose on the behaviour of the children, which influences them most in the school environment in Awka South Local Government Area.


The following research questions have been formulated to guide the study;

1. What are the  causes of delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Anambra state?

2. Can parents contribute towards efficient and effective reducing delinquent behavioour among secondary school students in Nigeria especially, Anambra state?

3. How can one establish a relationship between socio-economic status and delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Anambra state?

4.  Can  home-related factors and influence of parental occupations leads to delinquent behaviour of secondary school students?

 5. What are the problems which the family and environment impose on the behaviour of the children, which influences them most in the school environment in Awka South Local Government Area?


H0: There are no  causes of delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Anambra state.

H1: There are causes of delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Anambra state.

H0: Parents cannot contribute towards efficient and effective reducing delinquent behavioour among secondary school students in Nigeria especially, Anambra state.

H1: Parents can contribute towards efficient and effective reducing delinquent behavioour among secondary school students in Nigeria especially, Anambra state.

H0: There is no significant relationship between socio-economic status and delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Anambra state.

H1: There is a significant relationship between socio-economic status and delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Anambra state.

H0: Home-related factors and influence of parental occupations leads cannot to delinquent behaviour of secondary school students.

H1: Home-related factors and influence of parental occupations leads to delinquent behaviour of secondary school students.


       This study will be based on the effect of socio-economic status of parents on the behaviour of students in secondary schools. It will help the teachers, parents, educational psychologist and administrators to understand better, why some students engage in delinquent acts.

       It will also give suggestions on how parents and teachers could improve their social relationship with the students so as to provide more effective and realistic direction on the cultivation of accepted code of conduct and behaviour which are more appropriate and conforming within the society in question.

       It will also help the government to as well know the causes and effect of delinquent behaviours among adolescent students with specific reference to parental socio-economic status and hence plan adequately for educational improvement.

            The research intends to make practical investigation to find out whether there is actually a significant influence which the family poses on the children in our school environment. As it affect school children in Awka South Local Government Area.

(i)              To help parents and teachers to be well informed of life pattern of their children in the society and as well in the school environment.

(ii)            The parents will be helped to know how they will help in bringing up their children in normal way.

(iii)           To help parents to curb deviant behaviour of their children in the society.

(iv)           To find out the extend this problems affect our children in Awka South Government Area.


            This study is primarily effectiveness of parental contribution to reducing delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Anambra state . The study is carried out in Anambra state. The study covers the causes, effect of mass-media, broken homes and socio-economic status of parent. The study covers four selected secondary schools within Anambra state. The scope of the study covers within Awka South Local Government Area in Ebonyi State. The present research wishes to find out the influence of family and environment on the behoviour of our children which the teacher confronts in the teaching and learning process. As a result of this, the researcher has to consider these as factors that affect our children:-

(i)          Problems of Parents Teachers Dialogue (PTA).

(ii)        Problem of parent living good exemplary life and leaving the training of children in the hands of teachers completely.

(iii)      Poor communication between parent and children.


Juvenile delinquency: Juvenile delinquency refers to delinquent and criminal behaviour among young people as they negotiate the transition from childhood to adulthood in an increasingly complex and

confusing world. Although the issue of juvenile delinquency is an age long problem, it seems that the juvenile delinquency of the past cannot be compared with that of the present era. The antisocial behaviours often associated with the juvenile delinquents’ include vandalism, drug abuse, weapon carrying, alcohol abuse, rape, examination malpractices, school violence, bullying, cultism, truancy, school drop-outs, to mention but a few.


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