The Effect Of Marital Instability On The Academic Performance Of Students: A Case Study Of Ovia North East Local Government In Benin City, Edo State

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The Effect Of Marital Instability On The Academic Performance Of Students: A Case Study Of Ovia North East Local Government In Benin City, Edo State


This study was carried out to identify the effect of marital instability on the academic performance of studies; a case study of Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State. The study established the effect of marital instability among parents and off-springs, which include sexual promiscuity, drug abuse, psychological problems, crime among offspring’s, delinquent behaviour among juveniles. In carrying out the study, twenty (20) research questions were formulated and tested in order to validate the research questions, 100 questionnaires were administered in some selected schools in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State. Findings revealed that marital instability increases the chance of crime among offspring’s, unstable home increase probability of sexual promiscuity. Marital instability increases drugs use among couples and their children, etc following the findings in this research work, a number of recommendations were made to bring a positive change in the lives of parents and their offspring.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

This study is designed not only to impact broad based knowledge to marital homes but also to tackle the problems facing marital instability on the performance of students. Marital instability affects all round development of the student which includes: social, educational, emotional, vocational and mental aspect of the student. It is well known fact that parents contributes a lot to overall development of the students. When there is instability in marriage, which lack parental care which is very essential to their growth hence leads to maladjustment in the students? Student who are in the condition are seen to be confused and standard in life. This often leads to involving themselves breaking the societal norms and values such as: stealing, drug addicts etc.

Marital instability has become a thing of concern in this contemporary society and this is associated with separation, divorce, and widowhood. Separation and divorce are social phenomena created by either husband or the wife or both, but widowhood is beyond the control of human being, it is related to death and thus universal (Amina 2008). Meanwhile, separation may be in two categories: physical Separation i.e. when the husband and the wife reside separately without resolving their marital tie; mental separation i.e. when the couple decides to live together in the same household but without having biological and psychological relations. It is imperative to note that when marriage is dissolved in the court of law, it is called divorce, but when it is dissolved by death is called widowhood (Amina, 2008). Meanwhile, the term marital instability is used to refer to the process whereby marriages breakdown through separation, desertion or divorce (Lesmin& Sarah, 2008). The concept ofwomen in this study is associated with the ladies who are victims of marital instability due to separation and divorce by their husbands.

Unfortunately, many children today are faced with the challenges of multiple divorces or separations within their families. Parents who divorce often go on to remarry or form other intimate relationships have higher incidence of failure (Amato, 2000; Wallerstein, Lewis, & Blakeslee, 2000; Ward, 2002). The children are defined here who are also victims of marital instability of their parents and they are below 18 years of age.According to Smith (1999), some students are flexible and adapt well to change largely due to implementing effective coping strategies, while other students may react in the opposite way. Students may lose confidence, blame themselves for the break-up, and see their parent’s separation or divorce in a complicated way. The range of feelings that a student may encounter include: disbelief and denial, sadness, loss, loneliness, depression, anger, anxiety, fear, relief, and hope. Response to these feelings often results in different levels of intensity (Smith, 1999). While some students may experience mild anxiety and sadness, others may feel more intense emotions. Smith (1999) also found that students’ reaction to their parent’s divorce varies based on the student’s age. Carlson and Hines (cited in Dykeman, 2003) determined that parents can help make a smooth transition for their children during a divorce. Parents can present a reliable and cooperative parenting style when providing their children with discipline and behaviour expectations. Putting the child in the middle and asking them to “spy” on the other parent or report back information regarding dating, finances, and life styles may hurt the student trying to cope with life in two different residences. Students tend to be more resilient when their parents offer strategies such as joint-parenting, similar discipline styles and not competing for child-loyalty with gifts and presents. Hargreaves (1991) documented behaviouralissues and emotional problems exhibited by students proceeding their parents’ separation or divorce. Parents may also have different expectations and rules for their child presenting inconsistencies which may confuse the child. Research suggests that a child’s adaption to successful transition depends on each parent maintaining a healthy relationship between one another and with the child (Hargreaves, 1991). Wilkinson (cited in Hargreaves, 1991) reported children’s stressors throughout divorce may include disorganized daily routines, change in parenting style, reduced family income, parental conflict, limited resources, and parental accessibility. Families can usually maintain and adapt to the short-term changes of divorce in a two- to three-year span. According to Hertherington et al. (cited in Hargreaves, 1991), students display problems during a variety of stages of family deterioration including times during this alteration period, either before parental separation, or directly subsequent to a parental separation. Students will sometimes experience delayed stress responses occurring years after a divorce in a form of post-traumatic stress (Hargreaves, 1991).

According to Ajai and ipage (1997) marital instability affect the academic performance of children in schools. They demonstrated this by comparing intact homes and un-intact homes. It is observed that children from intact homes have higher grade or points. The various contribution on made by Ajai and Ipaye the (1997), right of women and children in divorce.

This foundation have help us to deepen understanding have help us deepen understanding the cause of marital instability and the effect of marital instability on children from the area of study. It has been found that children from unstable home often worse off when compared with the children from united home. This means that it is only when something goes wrong with the parents-child relationship, those serious causes delinquency result.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Going through the background of the study, it has been noticed that the foundations of the family institution is generally being eroded as a result of constant marital instability which affects the family and the performance of children in most society including Nigeria. These occurrence therefore have necessitated the need to fuel examine this social phenomenon by the extent to which marital instability affects, the performance of students and the family.

It is this problem that this research seeks to address and the gap is sought to full urgently. This scope of this research will be limited be Utekon community which will be used to examine and thoroughly ascertain the extents to which marital instability affect the students and the family.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

  1. To find out the effect of marital instability.
  2. To determine the implication of marital instability.
  3. To educate couples on how to achieve stability in their marital homes.

1.4 Research Questions

The following are some stated research questionnaires as a guide to this study.

  1. Do extra marital affair of the couples leads to marital instability?
  2. Do children from stable homes enjoy parental care more than children from unstable homes?
  3. Do the failure of married couples to bear children a reason for marital instability?
  4. Does marital instability increase the chances of teenage pregnancy?
  5. Does marital instability increase drugs use among couples and their children?

1.5 Significance of Study

This research or study is significant in that do enable the researcher give advice to couples on how to tackle the problems of marital instability on academic performance of students. It will also bring to the awareness of the parents and students the importance of them been educated on how to achieve stability in their marital homes or intended homes. It would be of immense help to the psychologists, sociologist s regards the effect of marital instability on each family and the community at large.

The findings of the study would go a long way to help the educators handle the students from unstable homes background since they may find it difficult to cope with their education. Again, the finding would help the government, religious houses and non-governmental agencies to encourage marital counseling at their various posts; and this could go a long way in correcting bad impression conceived in the society about marriage.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study is limited to Utekon Community in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State. Both sex from Utekon community were used for the study, consequently they stand a better chance to supply more accurate information.

This project was constrained by the following factors:

Financial Constraints

Bearing in mind the economic state of the nation, it was found difficult in making both ends meet, because of the exorbitant nature of things nowadays in travelling for the collection of data needed for the project.

Time Constraints

Looking at the interval between the resumption and vacation of the final semester for the project to be completed, the time given seemed to be short for the collection of required information for better work to be done.

Non-Availability of Material

During this project, it was noticed that the required materials needed for the project are not documented. Those that were documented lacked storage facilities where they can be reached.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Juvenile Delinquent:

Also known as juvenile offending; is the habitual committing of criminal acts or offense by a young person, especially one below the age at which ordinary criminal prosecution is possible.


Family is a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children.


Is the affecting, or arising in the mind, related to the mental and emotional state of a person.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is pertinent to note that this research was aimed at assessing the impacts of divorce home on student’s academic achievement, thus the topic “the effect of marital instability on the academic performance of students”.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges associated with marital instability on the academic performance of students in Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

The literature reviews cited in this study are of the opinion that family instability are injurious to the educational pursuit of the offerings of divorced couples, it was discovered that broken homes have a list of bearing on academic performance.

The findings which form the analyzed data indicates that the students from broken homes complete favourably the same way with students from stable homes in academic. This contradicts the popular view of most educators from iterative review. For example, Ezema (1981) stressed that the child’s mental and emotional development which are factors of school and education could be greatly influenced by the nature of family into which the child is born. A child who is brought up in a stable home is well provided for to learn better. Meanwhile, the present findings from the research work can be uphold due to social awareness that is prevalence in our society.

Most of the works reviewed violently contended against single parent fostering of children, in that, the traits of both parents are necessary for production of a complete human being both educationally and otherwise. From this work it can be seen hat even product in the society. This may be due to the educational awareness and financial stability of most single parents nowadays.

Furthermore, the finding from the analysis on t4he performance of male and female from broken homes perform averagely the same in academic standards. This finding does not agree with the popular opinion by the educators for example Wallersteen and Kelly (2004) concluded divorce may have a more severe and enduring impact on son (male than daughters (female).In addition, there is high level of understanding in education in both male and female children this day in our society unlike what was obtainable before. Hence, uncles, aunty, cousins and relations even friends can take the responsibility of training children broken homes.

5.3 Conclusion

The study examined the effect of marital instability on academic performance of students in Utekon Community in Ovia North East Local Government, Nigeria. The results of the findings indicated that children of divorced/separated are prone to drug addiction, armed robbery, commercial sex workers and other forms of criminal activity. The reason is that most of them tend to be deviants or non-conformist by virtue of the fact that there was no body to monitor them and control their behaviour. Meanwhile, it was also discovered that children of the divorced/separated parents tend to go wayward, naughty, unruly and rebellious. Furthermore, the study also established that children who grow up in a single parent family are more used for trafficking, rituals and house helps than the children who grow up in an intact family. Majority of the respondents also agreed that children of the divorced parents are likely to face rejection, suffering and economic hardship and those of them that find themselves in unstable homes tend to be aggressive in nature and are more likely to be fostered out than the children whose parents are not divorced. A convincing assessment of the impact of marital instability on children status therefore requires a credibly exogenous determinant of marital instability. The findings from this study demand urgent attention by all concerned, including counselling psychologists, marriage counsellors, religious leaders, married couples and the entire public. This is because the study has revealed and confirmed the reality of marriage instability. Prevention they say is better than cure. Therefore, the results from this study should be of paramount interest and concern to marriage counsellors.

5.4 Recommendations

On the bases of the results obtained in the research and the literature reviewed, the following are recommended.

  1. The community members including teachers, neighbors and all children lovers should make it their responsibility for all the children regardless of being their biological parents.
  2. Schools at all levels should have a strong guidance and counseling unit to help all the children divorce or separated parents.
  3. Every secondary schools in Nigeria should have guidance counsellors, who could counsel students from broken homes, experiencing challenges from home, especially the boys who may be adversely affected as a result of broken homes.
  4. Parents should be made to stand up to their responsibilities by making provision for adequate school materials for their wards.
  5. There is the need for personal social counselling in group or on individual basis where children with challenges from broken homes are counselled.

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