Influence of broken Homes on academic Achievement of students

Influence of broken Homes on academic Achievement of students in Bwari area Council     

Review of Related Literature

Frustration – Aggression Theory

John Dollard (1999) and others propounded this theory. The theory meets on the basic stimulus response (S.R) hypothesis. It purposes that aggression is always a consequence and frustration of that conflict has its roots caused in the frustration of one or more of an actor’s goal achievement. Going by the context of this theory, it explains that frustration is at the root of conflict and therefore, it is only when people are prevented from achieving their goals that they are frustrated and eventually seek avenue with which to displace such frustration.

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Kelly (2003) argues that the effects of conflicts are indirect – they are either mediated through other behaviours of the parents or dependent on the strategies used to resolve conflict, or related to the extent to which parents expressed their conflicts directly with and through the children. However, when parents are psychologically able to provide a loving relationship, children will be buffered from the stress divorce can engender and will proper developed mentally (Cohen, 2005).

Child Trends (2005) states that Divorce or dissolution of marriage is a judicially administered process that legally terminates a marriage that is considered as no longer viable by one or both of the spouses and permits both of them to remarry. It entails cancelling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between two persons. A divorce does not declare a marriage null and void, as in an annulment, but divorce cancels the marital status of the parties. Thus, allowing each to marry another person. The legal process for divorce according to Amato, Paul R (2002) may involve issue of spousal support, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt, these matters are usually only ancillary or consequential to the disillusion of marriage. The basis on which broken homes emerge include adultery, desertion, habitual drunkenness, conviction of a felony, impotence, which is most commonly used by divorcing parties. “Cruel and inhuman treatment”

Children/adolescents who experience conflict and are under this parenting structure suffer from serious emotional difficulties, living in shame, their sense of self undermined and with little confidence in the future. They are anxious, living in fear and waiting for the next violent episode to occur (Jafle, 2002) Adolescents can react either by running away or becoming involved in delinquent behaviour or trying to take on responsibility for keeping the peace and ensuring the safety of their families. The irony of this on the children is that the very people on whom they depend for safety and nurturance can offer them neither (Jaffe, Wolfe and Wilson, 2000). If the effects of violence are not acknowledged, women may appear instable or emotional while the butters are perceived as confident, rational and economically recure (Rosnes, 2007). However, it is important to link the negative impact of wife abuse on children to the abuser to avoid judging the mother as unfit by virtue of being a victim of spouse assault.

 Relative Deprivation Theory

The Relative Deprivation theory proposed by Gurr (1990) is at variance with frustration – Aggression theory. Besides, any form of deprivation could breed conflict; hence this theory will lend credence to conflict handling in the home. According to Gurr (1990), relative deprivation refers to perceived discrepancy between value expectation (resource to which one feels entitled) and value capabilities (resource which one feels capable of acquiring and keeping). The greater the average degree of perceived discrepancy between expected and value capabilities, the greater the intensity and scope of relative deprivation among members of same collectivity and the greater the potential for collective violence. Violence (a manifestation of conflict with physical, psychological or structural hurt), in this situation, occurs when an individual or group makes a comparison with others (perceived to be the same class or status with them) and they feel less measurable, due to deprivation of opportunities or resources they are equally entitled to within the system. When their attempts to meet up are thwarted, frustration sets in and they are most likely to strike at the source of frustration.

Rising Expectation Theory

The quality of education in the country is declining and therefore, breeding secondary school graduates with little technical know-how and more than average poor performance in academics has resulted in serious setback in the industrial development of the nation (Imoge, 2002). Different factors are capable of influencing the academic performance of secondary school students. Such factors may be the students internal state in terms of intelligence, state of health, motivation, anxiety, etc. and then environment which may involve: availability of suitable learning environment, adequacy of educational infrastructure like textbooks and well- equipped laboratories (Imoge. 2002). A Daily sketch publication on “causes and cures of poor performance at West African school certificate examination (WASSCE)” in 2006 indentified and categorized these problems.

Responsible for students’ poor performance to problems of teachers, problems of inadequate facilities in the schools, problems traceable to students, problems caused by parents and society at large and problems of government policies and low finding of the education sector (Ajila and Olutola 2007).

Family Income

Family income is another factor that influences parental support and involvement in education factor related to school achievement. Students who regard their parents as warm, firm, and involved in their education earn better grades than their classmates with uninvolved parents: Deslandes and Daniel (2007). In these families, parents support acts as a protective factor countering some of the risk factors their children encounter: Deslands, Rollande, Royer, Egide; and Turcotte, Daniel (2007). Economic pressures often limit or prevent parents involvement in single parent families, when single parents make effort to support their children’s education especially the adolescents, their efforts acts as a protective factor. Therefore, parental support act as a protective factor countering some of the risk factors that these children encounter children who have a combination of risk of poor academic performance and other negative child development outcomes than children from single parent homes with higher incomes and fewer siblings.  Therefore, the more risk factors children have, the more likely they will experience negative outcomes. Risk factors can lead to negative results, but the presence of risk factors does not guarantee poor outcomes (Seifer, Ronald; Sameroff. Arnold J. Baldwin, Clara P and Baldwin, Alfred (2002).

Broken Home and Academic Performance

The psychological development of the adolescent in the family is influenced not by what occurs in their new environment but also the environments their parents spend a considerable time in, such as their workplace Bronfenbrenner (2006). Broken home is generally associated with increased stress and emotional difficulties among students several aspects have a mediating effect. The amount of family conflict experienced by the student, their religious background, their age, and place in the sibling order were reported to have a vital impact on their efforts to adapt to this transition (Farber et al., 2003). Meanwhile, it is important to explain to children/adolescents the reasons why the divorce is occurring. In addition, Mitchell (1998) determined that one-third of the children/adolescents under this family structure were not given a reason as to why their parents got separated. Therefore, repressed anger due to divorce may be channeled into destructive patterns. These patterns may include, “compensatory lying, self-doubt, self – estrangement, compulsive visuals, malevolent dreams, and other behaviours”. In regard to separation anxiety, the child may respectably fear abandonment Munger and Morse (2002).

Previous Studies

Studies have shown that the foundation of a happy family is strong, loving relationship between the two parents.  The single, most important thing that parents can do for their children is to do everything in their spouses (Thiessen, Sarah, 2007). According to Conkline (2006), a broken home is a situation that arises when an individual losses his/her spouse by death, separation, divorce, desertion, single parenting, never married but with a child/children. Mothers and fathers both play important roles in the growth and development of children (child trends. 2002). Both the number and the type of parents (i.e. biological, step) in a child’s household can have strong effects on their well-being.

Single parent families/ broken families tend to have much lower incomes than do two parent families, but research indicates that the income differential accounts for only about one half of the negative effects of parents absence on many areas of child and youth wellbeing, including health, educational attainment and assessments, behavior problems and psychological wellbeing (Brown, Susan L. (2004). The Urban institute, 2006). Over half of all children living with a single parent (mother) are living in poverty: a rate fine to six times that of kids living with two parents (U.S. Bureau of the census, series 1991.60% of fall poor families with children were headed by single mothers. Also, fatherlessness consigns children to poverty; children in father absent households are six times more likely to be poor than children whose homes are headed by a father (Murphy Brown, 2002).

Schoettle and Cantwell (1999) have shown that adolescents who experience family disruption due to divorce have an increased possibility of impulse control problems and displays of antisocial behavior. Also, studies have shown that the effect of family disruption (broken homes) due to divorce have pointed to higher levels of aggression and acts of violent behaviours in children and adolescents respectively, heightened anxiety, intense anger, loneliness, and somatic complaints along with sadness, fear, and depression (Felner, Farber, Ginter, Boike x Cowen 2001). Farbar primavera, and Felner (2003) had presented a study that indicated that parental separation and divorce may be a highly stressful life transition for adolescents. They indicated that, “as with young children this life transition appears of lead to heightened vulnerability and risk for emotional difficulties”. Because of broken home, patterns of problem behavior include increased difficulties in interpersonal relationships. Sexual identity, and academic performance, as well as heightened levels of emotional difficulties, along with drug and alcohol use.

However, it is evident from the research that inter-parental conflict has a major impact on children’s post-adjustment. Thus, it is critical that parents attempt to reduce conflict among them. How to accomplish this, however, may be quite difficult, especially when they are long-standing hostilities. At the very least, as suggested by Hetherington and Camara (2008) and Devine (2006), children should not be directly exposed to the conflict. Slater et al. (2003) found that adolescent girls from disrupted homes had lower self-esteem and more behavior problems than adolescent boys in similar home life situations. While female adolescents from disrupted homes reported higher level of family conflict than females from intact families, the opposite was true for males.

Wallerstein and Kelly (2005) found that, one year following divorce, 63 percent of the girls were in worse psychological conditions compared to 27 percent of the boys. Frost and Pakiz (2000) found that girls from recently disrupted households reported truancy in higher proportion than their male counterparts and then the children from intact families. However, some studies have found no difference on various effects of divorce between girls and boys (Kinard and Reinherz, 2004) Mechanic and Hansell, 2008; Rosen, 2007). Frost and adolescents from divorced families, although they found gender differences in other areas (such as truancy and social networks).

In a study by Farbar et al. (2003), clinical directors of college mental health counseling centres said that female adolescents had more difficulty than males in adapting to divorce. However, in a review of literature, Amato (impress) found minimal sex differences, although women from divorced families appear to attain lower level of education than those from intact families.

In a meta-analysis of 37 studies which examined the long-term consequences of parental divorce for adult well-being, Amato and Keith (2001) found no support for the contention that parental separation has more detrimental consequences for males than female.

Finally, in a longitudinal study, Zill et al. (2003) found no evidence to support the hypothesis that young adult males were likely than girls to be vulnerable to the effects of marital disruption. A possible reason for the contradictory findings related to gender could be that boys and girls may be affected by family separation/broken homes in different ways. For instance, Kalter (2007) and Knok, Virginia W. (2006) found that many people have questions about the influence of single parent families (broken homes) on a child’s academic achievement and the ways in which single parents can help their children succeed in school. Research using the family Deficit model begins with the assumption that single parenting is bad for children, and the results of these studies typically support this assumption. Some studies using the family Deficit model minimize or overlook the influence economics and other background factors have on academic achievement rather than alter this research model (Marsh, Herbert W. (2002); Thiessen, Sarah (2007). Children from broken homes via single parenting are at greater risk than children in other types of families in some ways. When they have similar academic abilities at times, children in single parent families are three times more likely to drop out of secondary school than children from two-parent families (Thiessen, Sarah, 2007; Herbert,  and Lee, Valerie E. 2001).

Clemens and Ouke (2007) and Emeke (2004) indentified two factors that cause poor academic performance as the combination of personal and institutional factors, personal factor relate to the individual’s intelligence, knowledge and ability. While institutional factors are family or parental influences, societal influence, institutional influences, and school related factors – student/teacher rapport, teacher related factors, accommodation and living conditions (Clemens, Oelke (2007); Emeke (2004). In the same vein, Wiseman (2003), Sogbetan (2001) and Hassan (2003) among others have examined the causes of poor academic performance among secondary school students. Some of the factors identified are intellectual ability, poor study habit, achievement motivation, lack of vocational goals, low self-concept, and low socio-economic status and the family, poor family structure and anxiety. The consequences of these include indiscipline in schools and low level of educational standard. The financial advantages that step-parents families are evident though research to date has failed to show a beneficial effect of marriage on children’s achievement or behavior Zill (2003). In a national longitudinal study of children (aged 12 – 16).

Peterson and Zill (2006) found more behavior problems among girls living with remarried mother, as compared to boys. This is another factor contributing to the poor performances in the academic achievement of children as well as adolescents. In a follow-up study with these children at ages 18 – 22, Zill et all (2003) concluded that remarriage didn’t have a protective effect on children.


Attempts were made in this chapter to define the concept broken home various definitions provided by earlier researchers with more emphasis on divorce the control issue. In an attempt to portray the nature of broken home, divorce, death of parent and reparation have been identified, as being the course of broken homes. Divorce being major constraints or broken home has its causes identified further, economic booms, in relationship between home and academic achievement. The students of the broken homes are likely to find themselves in one of the three situation that is being catered for big a single parent, being read.

Each of those variables bring hardship to the students. The literature review in this section argued in support and against. The view that it is the next conditions prevailing in the broken homes that is responsible for student’s low performance. A number of studies show that children of divorced homes are intact unlikely unhappy homes.

The literature review revealed that the problems mostly re-encountered by subjects of broken homes are those of frustration, insecurity, anxieties and emotional feedings. Such problems made the children unable to concentrate, in the claims, and subsequently fail to achieve.

The Influence of broken Homes on academic Achievement of students in Bwari area Council


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