Family Instability and Juvenile Delinquency Project Topics : Current School News

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Family Instability and Juvenile Delinquency:

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Family Instability and Juvenile Delinquency.

ABSTRACT

The increasing rate of juvenile delinquency has become a major social problem globally and locally. Researchers and concerned individuals have traced the preponderance of juvenile delinquency to the increasing rate of family instability among other factors.

However, concerted inquiries into the influence of family instability on juvenile delinquency have resulted in a raging controversy.

While some researchers have found a significant relationship between family instability and juvenile delinquency, others have suggested otherwise.

Against this backdrop, this study set out to fill this yawning gap in literature and also to examine the relationship between family instability and juvenile delinquency in Owerri Municipality.

Using the purposive sampling method, 510 senior secondary school students were selected for this study from 10 comprehensive secondary schools in Owerri Municipality.

The questionnaire and the interview guide were used for data collection. 3 hypotheses were formulated to guide this study. The hypotheses were tested with the chi-square (x2) statistic.

The results of the analyses suggested that children from unstable homes were more likely to engage in juvenile delinquency than their counterparts from more stable homes; inadequate parental supervision predicted delinquency while considerable familial conflicts increased the likelihood of delinquency.

This study recommended among other things that Governments, counselors and concerned agencies should routinely develop programmes aimed at sensitizing parents and care-givers on parent roles and obligations.

The increasing rate of juvenile delinquency has become a major social problem globally and locally. Researchers and concerned individuals have traced the preponderance of juvenile delinquency to the increasing rate of family instability among other factors.

However, concerted inquiries into the influence of family instability on juvenile delinquency have resulted in a raging controversy. While some researchers have found a significant relationship between family instability and juvenile delinquency, others have suggested otherwise.

Against this backdrop, this study set out to fill this yawning gap in literature and also to examine the relationship between family instability and juvenile delinquency in Owerri Municipality.

Using the purposive sampling method, 510 senior secondary school students were selected for this study from 10 comprehensive secondary schools in Owerri Municipality.

The questionnaire and the interview guide were used for data collection. 3 hypotheses were formulated to guide this study. The hypotheses were tested with the chi-square (x2) statistic.

The results of the analyses suggested that children from unstable homes were more likely to engage in juvenile delinquency than their counterparts from more stable homes; inadequate parental supervision predicted delinquency while considerable familial conflicts increased the likelihood of delinquency.

This study recommended among other things that Governments, counselors and concerned agencies should routinely develop programmes aimed at sensitizing parents and care-givers on parent roles and obligations.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page – – – – – – – – – i
Approval page – – – – – – – – – ii
Certification – – – – – – – – – iii
Dedication – – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgments – – – – – – – – v
Abstract – – – – – – – – – vi
Table of contents – – – – – – – – vii
List of table – – – – – – – – – viii
List of pictures – – – – – – – – – ix

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study – – – – – – – 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem – – – – – – – 3
1.3 Research Questions – – – – – – – 7
1.4 Objectives of the Study – – – – – – – 7
1.5 Significance of the Study – – – – – – 8

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Review of Empirical Literature – – – – – 11
2.2 Broken Homes and Juvenile Delinquency – – – – 14
2.3 Single Parenthood and Juvenile Delinquency – – – – 17
2.4 Parental Death and Juvenile Delinquency – – – – 19
2.5 Review of Related Theories – – – – – – 20
2.5.1 Life Course Theory – – – – – – – 20
2.5.2 Social Control Theory- – – – – – – 21
2.5.3 General Strain Theory – – – – – – 22
2.5.4 Containment Theory – – – – – – – 23
2.5.5 Social Disorganization Theory – – – – – 24
2.6 Theoretical Framework – – – – – – 25
2.7 Research Hypotheses – – – – – – – 26

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Research Design – – – – – – – 27
3.2 Area of Study – – – – – – – – 27
3.3 Scope of the Study – – – – – – – 28
3.4 Study Population – – – – – – – 28
3.5 Sample Size – – – – – – – – 28
3.6 Sampling procedure – – – – – – – 29
3.7 Instruments for data collection – – – – – – 30
3.8 Administration of instruments – – – – – – 30
3.9 Limitations of the Study – – – – – – – 32
3.10 Methods of Data Analysis – – – – – – 33

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS

4.1 Demographic Characteristics of the Respondents – – – – 34
4.2 Level of communication in respondents’ families – – – – 39
4.3 Level of supervision and monitoring in respondents’ families – – 43
4.4 Family cohesion – – – – – – – – 49
4.5 Symptoms of delinquency in the respondents – – – – 51
4.6 Testing of hypotheses – – – – – – – 59
4.6.1 Hypothesis 1 – – – – – – – – 59
4.6.2 Hypothesis 2 – – – – – – – – 60
4.6.3 Hypothesis 3 – – – – – – – – 61
4.7 Summary of Findings – – – – – – – 62

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Summary – – – – – – – – – 66
5.2 Conclusion – – – – – – – – – 67
5.3 Recommendations – – – – – – – – 68
REFERENCES – – – – – – – – 70
APPENDIX 1 – – – – – – – – 74
APPENDIX 2 – – – – – – – – 78

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Juvenile delinquency is an intractable problem worldwide and has been increasing phenomenally by as much as 30 percent since the 1990s (World Youth Report, cited in Sheryln, 2008).

Anti-social behaviours of young people have been posing a lot of problems to the wellbeing of the people in Nigeria. Citizens, researchers and public officials perceive juvenile delinquency as a major social contemporary concern in Nigeria.

Juvenile crimes witnessed in Nigeria include: drug abuse, cultism, bullying, truancy, examination malpractices, prostitution, theft (Ugwuoke, 2010; Sanni, Udoh, Okediji, Modo & Ezeh, 2010).

Shoemaker (2010:3), defined juvenile delinquency as “illegal acts, whether criminal or status offences, which are committed by youth under the age of 18”. From this definition, it is pertinent to highlight the two types of delinquent offences associated with young people, herein referred to as juveniles/children.

The first type of offence is a conduct that would be a criminal law violation for an adult, such as rape, burglary, robbery, etc.

The other type of delinquent offence called ‘status’ offences are delinquent conducts that do not apply to adults, such as running away from home, truancy, etc (Alemika & Chukwuma, 2001; Alfrey,2010).

The origin of juvenile delinquency in Nigeria dates back to the 1920s when youth crimes such as pick pocketing and prostitution became predominant issues in Nigerian newspapers in that period.

REFERENCES

Alemika, E. & Chukuma, I. (2001). Juvenile justice in Nigeria : Philosophy and practice. Lagos: Centre for Law Enforcement Education.

Alfrey, C. (2010). Juvenile Delinquency and family Structure: Implications for marriage and relationship education. Retrieved April 20th, 2010 from http://www.healthymarriageinfo.org/docs/juveniledelinquency.pdf.

Anderson, A. (2002). Individual and contextual influences on delinquency: The role of the single family. Journal of Criminal Justice, 30 (6), 575-587.

Azoro, J. (2010). Public perception of the effects of broken homes on the family: A case study of Awka South L.G.A. (Unpublished B. Sc project, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka).

Babbie, E. (2007). The practice of social research. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishers. Cullen, G. & Agenew, R. (2002).Criminological theory: Past to present. Los Angeles:Roxbury Publishing Company.

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