The Effect Of Divorce On Pupils Academic Performance In Primary Schools

Primary Education Project and Semina Material

The Effect Of Divorce On Pupils Academic Performance In Primary Schools

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

It is observed by the researchers that marriage between a man and a woman is expected to be a permanent affair and lasting association until death takes away one of the partners but changes in the Nigerian society, marriage is now seen to be a temporary affair which can be dissolved if either part by cruelty, desertion or adultery goes against the wishes of their union. Divorce is actually a legal dissolution of the marital union which, involve the governance of the marriage bind between a husband and his wife. For a marriage to be successful there is need for a couple to be in harmony mentally, physically and spiritual. In other words, the husband and the wife must have a common goal andeach have to contribute his or her own towards the fulfillment in the family and keyword should be love (Cohen,2002).

Parents play a vital role in their pupil’s lives, serving as their earliest and most important role model. Children tend to look up to and observe their parents behavior from a veryyoung age (Herzog & Cooney, 2002.). Throughout childhood, family experiences play a vital role in building pupil’s attitude, beliefs and expectation. (Rogers and Rose (2002) report that children of divorce experience determined sad effects such asdepression, anger, aggression, parent-child conflict as well as parental divorce in terms of research, a common question among social scientist regarding children and divorce is how these children areaffected by their experience and how they are different from those who are not experiencing ongoing parental conflict and discord. Experiencing parental discord may lead a child to trivialize the importance of commitment and view the institution of marriage with negativity (Doland 2003).

According to Mc Doland (2003) as cited earlier on, divorce is defined as the dissolution of a relationship,which is recognized as marital relationship.It marked by formal court proceedings and its decree is divorce.Divorce is usually accompanied by formal arrangements for owing of property, custody and support of children if there any. The property adjustment may also include a provision requiring alimony to be paid by one partner to the other although alimony is less frequently granted today.

Children from divorced families are nearly five times more likely to suffer damaging mental troubles than those who live with both parents. This shows that two parents are much better in bringing up healthy children than one.Children who come from broken families will most likely have difficult time in life.Children of divorce parent are roughly two times more likely to dropout from school than their peers who benefit from living with parents who are not divorced (Mclannahan 2006). Some children from broken marriages are likely to turn to drug abuse or negative behaviors. The truth is that every child needs and deserves the love and provision of a mother and a father. Happy family is the best environment for children. A strong family home is a place where children gain the identity, discipline, and moral education that are essential for their full individual development. Nigeria, as a nation with a strong marriage, had created the best route to achieving the Nigeria dream. It has now become a nation in which divorce is commonly seen as the path to personal liberation. In this case many experts argue that, because nothing can be done about it, all Nigeria should simply accept the culture of divorce without considering the future of the children.

The qualities of parental relationship spills over into relationship with their children .Couples with satisfying marital relationship are more warm and supportive towards their children. (Amato and Ketin 2001) speculated that the gap in well —being between children with divorced and non divorced parents might have narrowed either because divorce became more easily socially accepted or parents were making greater efforts to reduce the potentially disruptive impact of divorce on their children. Children with divorced parents score lower than children with continuously married parents on measure of academic success (AstoneMclanahan, 2002). The quality of functioning is one of the best predictors of pupil’s behavior and well being. Several within group studies shows that either a conflicted relationship with the custodial parent inept parenting on the part of the custodial parent are linked with a variety of negative outcomes on children including lower academic performance, internalizing problems, externalizing problems, reduced self-esteem, and poorer social competence (Buchnan, Smacco by Dombush, 2006).

The effects of divorce on children are traumatic divorce can cause children to question their self- worth, to experience unnecessary grief, guilt or confusion. Young children especially, have difficulty understanding the rationalities of their parents decision to divorce. In a marriage it is difficult for children to find a sense of security because experience shows them that what seemed stable and good fell to pieces to and left them empty. Growing up in a broken home may also cause children to have difficult in future relation.

Parental relationship plays a very important role in determining the academic performance of their children in school. Family harmony can easily be affected due to parental conflicts. The degree of parental conflicts varies from mild to serious. These conflicts affect the academic performance their children hence lead to drop out from school. In their recent longitudinal study, (Harold A, and Shelton, 2007) revealed the roles of marital relations and pupil’s academic performance. In accounting for the relationship between spouses affects their pupil’s adjustment directly through the emotional stress level, role modeling and academic performance (Cumming, 2000).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

As adolescent become young adults, they begin to explore various aspects of life that include dating, intimate relationships and thoughts about future marriage. Research had shown that many factors are involved in the formation of a young adult’s view of marriage such as their experience or lack of experience with parental divorce (Jones and Nelson,2001). In their study of young adults and intimate relationships (Sinclair Nelson,2004) found out that students from divorced and intact families do not differ in the ability to experience intimate relationship, contradicting many other studies which have shown a difference between the groups. Parental conflicts within divorced and non divorced families can have a detrimental effect on how young adults view marriage thus leaving many young adults uncommitted to a number of partners in the early dating years due to fear. In relation, (Sinclair and Nelson, 2001) found that parental divorce can give young adults feelings of insecurity as well as have a greater variety of dating partners and interest in relationships, (Franklin, Jan off-Bulinan and Roberts 2008) found that college students who experienced parental and success of their future marriage.

While Literature on the relationship between broken marriages has focused on school going children’s drop out, it is silent on the role of teachers in minimizing the negative effects on off divorce on school going children. Because the increasing rate of drop out has affected the government and family social economic abilities, it is important to consider teachers and community member’s role in minimizing the effects of broken marriages on school going children. This study intended to fill the gap in the literature. Studies such as those of (Harold et al, 2007; Cummings and Davies 2000; Turner and Koplecc.2006) were done in USA with a focus on nuclear family. Not much has been done in Africa were most families still have the elements of communal and extended families.

Parenting and by implication lack of it, it is the single largest variable implicated in truancy school disruption and under-achievement. It is therefore described as the most important public issue facing the society. Both mother and fathers make a vital contribution to the cognitive and emotional well being of their children. However, studies suggest that the single most important family trend in the United States is the growing absence of fathers from children and this lead to truancy. (Healy, Stewart and Copeland 2000), in a study of primary school children six months after parental separation, found that one third reported some feelings of self-became, in turn was related to variety of child’s problem, and lowered feelings of self-competence.

Unhappy marriage of parents may be associated with low performance of children in school, because witnessing conflicts between parents heightens a level of stress on children and keep them from focusing on school work. These children also learn in appropriate social problem solving skills through modeling parental behaviors. In Korea, parent in Lee and Chung (2004) found that the marital relationship perceived by Korean adolescent students were positively related to their school adjustment. Parents in a dysfunctional marriage are likely to be distressed and distracted by conflicts with their spouses and they cannot afford to invest their time and energy in children. In turn, inappropriate, parenting style worsens parent-child relations. In view of this, the study tend to investigate effect of divorce on pupils academic performance in primary schools in Abeokuta Central, Ogun State, to fill gap in research and knowledge.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

  1. To determine weather pupils from stable home perform academically than pupils from broken home.
  2. To determine effect of divorce on academic performance of pupils.
  3. To determine moral laxity of pupils from broken home and stable home.
  4. To determine effects of divorce on moral behavior of pupils from broken homes.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Do pupils from stable homes perform academically than pupils from broken homes?
  2. To what extent could divorce have effects on academic performance?
  3. Do pupils from broken homes have moral laxity than stable homes?
  4. To what limit could divorce affect moral behavior of pupils from broken homes.

1.5 Research Hypotheses

H01: There is no significant difference in the academic performances of primary school pupils from broken and from unbroken homes.

H02: There is no significant effect on the academic performances of primary school pupils in term of socialization of the home.

1.6 Significance of the Study

It is hoped that findings from this study will enrich programs of teaching social sciences. Although all extensive research has been done on how children are afflicted by parental divorce, on research area that lack depth is the effect of divorce on young adult’s attitude and perception of divorce and marriage as well as their beliefs on the formation of their own intimate relationship. With the high divorce rate and growing prevalence of marriage and divorce in today’s society, it is equally important to research the attitudes and perceptions of individuals from divorced and non- divorced as well. It will also make youngsters to be discriminative in their choice mate. Findings from this study and building from parent who have thought divorce in the understanding of the problem experienced by their parent and give assurance about their children.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study focused on the effect of divorce on pupils academic performance in primary schools in Odeda Local Government Area, Ogun State Nigeria. A sample size of 100 would be selected from various schools in Odeda Local Government Area. The study would be limited to various of gender, age and educational level. Questionnaire would be use as an instrument for data collection. Analysis of data would be limited to the use of frequency count, percentage and mean.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms are used to give the reader[s] an interesting study.


This is the way of dissolving a legal marriage which permit’s the partners to remarry if they choose


Children who are being taught in a primary school

Academic Performance:

Refers to the degree of exhibition of output in educational activities in school or learning outcome of the recipient in an highly institutionalize.

Chapter Five

Discussion of the Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations

This chapter provides adequate discussion of the findings, conclusion and recommendations.

5.1 Discussion of the Findings

One of the finding of this research work is Pupils from stable homes perform academically than pupils from broken homes this agrees with the finding of Wolchick, (2002) who observed that children who have experienced a divorce frequently have lower academic achievement than children from non-divorced families. In the same vain, Elmore’s (2003) opined that, children of divorced family are at risk of lower academic performance than their peers from non- divorced families.

The second finding reveal that Divorce have effects on academic performance of pupils. This finding go in line with the work of Barthelomew and Kwadwo (2015) who reported that The issue of divorce is an increasing social problem that has become a topic for discussion in recent times. It is traumatic for those who experience it. Those affected may experience grief, embarrassment, resentment, disappointment, intense anger and divided loyalty. Similarly, Amato and Keith (1991) observed that children of divorced families are at a greater risk of not reaching their full academic potentials since they encounter many challenges in their family lives which they bring with them into the classroom.

The third finding of this work was on Pupils from broken homes have moral laxity than stable homes. This agrees with the finding of Salami (1998) who postulated that adolescents from broken homes are usually associated with anti-social behaviour and poor academic records. The conjecture is that when parents separate or divorce, children often lose both the financial and emotional support of their fathers, which can have a negative impact on academic performance.

The forth finding shows that Divorce has higher effects on moral behavior of pupils from broken homes this finding is in accordance with the findings of Udansky and Wolf (2008) identified single parenting as a major problem on the rise. Single parenthood may arise when either the male or female decides to produce and rear a child or children outside wedlock.

The fifth finding reveals that there is significant difference in the academic performances of primary school pupils from broken and from unbroken homes. The present finding also supports the findings of Rodgers and Rose (2001) found out that family and school factors related to adolescents’ academic performance, it noted that it is two times more likely for a child from a divorced family to drop out of high school than a child from a non-divorced family.

These children from divorced families may also be less likely to attend college, resulting in the discontinuation of their academic career.

Furthermore, The fifth finding of this research work which is on the significant difference in the academic performances of primary school pupils from broken and from unbroken homes, this finding is in accordance with the research conducted by Otu-Danquah (2002) who literary expressed that academic performance is ‘what a student is capable of achieving when tested or examined on what he/she has been taught’ this is also agrees with the work of Lamden et al, (2002).The school as a system is confronted with large numbers of families coping with transitions created by divorce which mostly affects the pupils academics performance in school. Also the work of Yongm and Yuanzhang, (2008) agrees with this above finding that in some cases children who experience separation or divorce do not always perform well or achieve academically.

The sixth finding of this was on the significant effect on the academic performances of primary school pupils in term of socialization of the home and this agrees with the findings of Rogers and Rose (2002) who submitted that children of divorce parents experience sad effects of divorce such as depression, anger, aggression and low self-esteem and self-confidence thus this affects their socialization at home among their peers. Similarly the observation of Amato and Keith (1991) agrees that after a systematic analysis of the effect of divorce on children, concluded that parental divorce is associated with negative outcome in academic achievement that will result into bad conduct, psychological imbalance, low self-esteem, fear for future and social relations(including home and society) of the pupils.

5.2 Conclusion

Based on the findings from this study, it can be concluded that divorce has high level of negative impact on the academic and social relation of the pupils from broken home since they encounter many challenges in their family lives that they bring them into the classroom. However, pupils from non-broken home perform better and have the potential to reach and attain their academic height therefore divorce is not the sole predictor of academic failure for pupils.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Teachers and guardians need to give psychological supports to pupils from the broken homes to perform excellently in their academic studies.
  2. Parents should put their children into consideration before divorce as they are the ones to suffer from such decision to separate by their parent.
  3. The intended parent who wish to separate should know their move will affects the proper upbringing of their children especially on the moral grand and anytime their displayed moral laxities the blame will be largely on such parents who encourages divorce.
  4. Parents/guardians needs to pay more attention to moral upbringing of every child.
  5. Teacher and the school management need to treat all pupils equally irrespective of their family background.
  6. More attention need to be paid to child upbringing as the home serves as first agent of socialization.

5.4 Suggestions for Further Studies

Due to time and financial constraints, this study is limited to few primary school pupils in Ilorin metropolis, it is therefore suggested that further study should be conducted using other level of institution such as Junior and Senior secondary schools to get more facts on the effect of divorce on the pupils academic performance, and it could as well be extended outside Ilorin with more robust statistical techniques to enhance the generalizability of the findings.

The Effect Of Divorce On Pupils Academic Performance In Primary Schools

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The Effect Of Divorce On Pupils Academic Performance In Primary Schools


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