The study investigated the relationship between broken homes and
academic achievement of students. Three research hypotheses were
formulated to guide the study. The study was correlational because the
study sought to establish the extent of relationship between broken
homes and academic achievement. The statistical method used in analyzing
the data was the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (r).
Reliable and validated questionnaires which were designed to elicit
information on the hypotheses of study were used. Six senior secondary
schools were randomly selected for the study. One hundred and fifty
respondents from single parent homes were used for the study. 25
respondents were randomly selected from six schools. Results showed a
significant relationship between broken homes and academic achievement
of students. It was also discovered that female students from broken
homes perform better in their studies than the male students, moreover,
the result showed that low socio-economic status, also had an adverse
effect on the academic performance of children from broken homes. It is
recommended that personal social counselling should be rendered to
students from broken homes, with a view to counselling students who are
experiencing some challenges
Keywords: Stable homes, broken homes, Academic achievement, gender
and socio-economic status.
The family is the child's first place of contact with the
world. The child as a result, acquires initial education and
socialization from parents and other significant persons in the family.
Agulana (1999) pointed out that the family lays the psychological,
moral, and spiritual foundation in the overall development of the child.
Structurally, family/homes is either broken or intact. A broken home in
this context, is one that is not structurally intact, as a result of
divorce, separation, death of one parent and illegitimacy. According to
Frazer (2001), psychological home conditions arise mainly from
illegitimacy of children, the label of adopted child, broken home,
divorce and parental deprivation. Such abnormal conditions of the home,
are likely to have a detrimental effect on school performance of the
child he asserts.
Life, in a single parent family or broken home can be stressful for
both the child and the parent. Such families are faced with challenges
of inadequate financial resources (children defense fund, 1994). Schultz
(2006) noted that if adolescents from unstable homes are to be compared
with those from stable homes, it would be seen that the former have more
social, academic and emotional problems. Scales and Roehlkepartain
(2003), are of the opinion that the family and its structure play a
great role in children's academic performance. Levin (2001), also
states that parents are probably the actors with the clearest
undimentional interest in a high level of their children's academic
performance. To some extent, there is simple evidence to show that
marital instability brings about stress, tension, lack of motivation and
frustration. Obviously, these manifestations act negatively on a
child's academic performance. Johnson (2005) asserts that children
of unmarried parents/separated families often fail and are at risk
emotionally. However, this may not be completely applicable in all
instances of broken homes. Some children irrespective of home background
or structure may work hard and become successful in life. Moreover,
Ayodele (2006) stated that the environment where a child finds
himself/herself goes a long way in determining his learning ability and
ultimately his academic performance in school.
Gender and Academic Performance
The influence of sex (gender) on academic performance has, also,
been an issue of concern to most researchers. This is because
"gender" appear to have some powerful effect on learning.
However, studies by Fausto-Sterling (1995) and Friedman (1985) suggest
no significant difference in cognitive ability between males and
females. Although research results vary widely, the following
conclusions have been drawn. Males are more abstract learners, females
have more anxiety about study success, males are more intuitive, females
are more analytical and organized (Bielinskia & Davidson, 2001).
Supporting the finding above Hamilton (1999) finds that boys
consistently scored higher than girls on questions requiring knowledge
learned outside of schools. On the other hand, Orestein (1995) finds
that there is a decrease in confidence and academic risk-taking as girls
get older. Okoye (1983) postulated that sex differences may have little
or no effect on academic performance, rather, he submit that eventual
achievement by learners is predicated more on personal effort than sex
variable. However, the overall picture suggests that males and females
may learn differently.
Socio-economic Status of Parents & Academic Performance
Another factor that may affect academic performance of students is
socio-economic background, This background refers to parents'
educational attainment, occupation, level of income and social class
placement. When a child's needs are not properly addressed, his
learning ability could be affected due to lack of motivation. Bliss
(2004) is of the view that many students from low socio-economic homes
respond uncomprehensively to classroom teaching because their home
environment has not exposed them to the kinds of materials used in
schools. If home environment is not intellectually stimulating, some
students find it difficult to cope in school and may eventually dropout
of school. Health (1990) asserts that irrespective of national equality
of opportunity, children of parents in higher socio-economic status tend
to achieve greater academically than children of parents from lower
Furthermore, the home has been identified as an overwhelming factor
affecting student's performance academically. It would appear,
then, that, broken homes may present a very real danger to the
emotional, personality, and mental adjustment of the young adolescent.
These impinge on students' academic achievement.
There is a global awareness of the importance of the home
environment on students' academic achievement. In Nigeria, most
homes are not intact as a result of issues of incompactibility of the
couples, death of a parent and the quest for oversea trips to make more
money, and at times marital infidelity. This has resulted in the
separation of couples and children. In some states in the federation,
this is quite prevalent, in that most young ladies abandon their homes,
and embark on oversea trips with a view to making money. Some men who
travel abroad, abandon their homes and would not communicate with
families back home, so children from such homes are in a dilemma,
especially in terms of adjustment. Ichado (1998) notes that the
environment in which the students come from can greatly influence his
performance in school. Ajila and Olutola (2007), Nzewuawah (1995) are of
a similar opinion that the home environment has been recognized as
having a relationship with the academic achievement of students.
The effects of broken homes may impact greatly on the internal
organization of the family and by extension, affect a child's
emotion, personality and academic achievement. Bearing in mind the role
of the family in a child's education, the failure of the family to
perform its duties could hinder the child's academic achievement.
Any nation that is desirous of advancing technologically will no doubt
ensure that the future of her future leaders (the adolescents) is well
guided, protected and guaranteed. Efforts would be made by such a nation
to ensure that children from broken homes are identified, counselled and
encouraged so as to develop their innate potentials, and contribute
towards national development. Therefore, there is the need for this
study in Nigeria, as the issue of broken homes are with us in the
society, moreso, as economic hardship has been seen as a contributory
factor to this phenomenon (Ordedi 2001 & UNICEF, 2004). It becomes
imperative that a study on the relationship between broken home and
student academic achievement should be investigated, in view of the fact
that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. Their academic and
emotional well-being, if given the appropriate attention, will go a long
way in ensuring that their potentials are harnessed, and put into use
for national development
Consequently, the major problem of this study is to determine the
relationship between broken homes and students' academic
Purpose of the Study
The objective of this study is to determine the relationship
between broken homes and academic achievement of students, and also to
find out the relationship between broken homes and academic achievement
of males and females. The study will also determine the relationship
between socio-economic status of parents on academic achievement of
students from broken homes.
To guide the study, the following research hypotheses were
1. There is no significant relationship between broken homes and
academic performance of secondary school students.
2. There is no significant relationship between gender and academic
achievement of secondary school students from broken homes.
3. There is no significant relationship between socio--economic
status of parents and academic achievement of students from broken
The study was correlational because the study sought to establish
the extent of relationship between the independent variable and the
dependent variables. Correlational studies investigates mutual
relationships of interdependence between two or more variables, this is
what the study was designed to investigate.
The population of the study consists of all adolescents in senior
secondary school in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. This local
government area has high concentration of private and public secondary
The sample comprised of 150 students from broken homes, who were
volunteers, and from six (6) randomly selected secondary schools in
Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. It was observed that certain
schools in the population area are either Boys only or Girls only, while
others are co-educational (Mixed). The researcher then, adopted the use
of stratified random sampling by sharing the schools on this basis into
three groups and then selected two schools from each group. However, in
selected mixed schools, both sexes were used. This was done to maintain
an equal distribution of sample. The research study was restricted to
only senior secondary school class, because the researcher felt they are
more predisposed to respond to the questionnaire appropriately.
The instrument used was a questionnaire which was designed to
elicit information from students on the relationship between broken
homes and academic achievement of students. The instrument is based on a
four point modified likert scale of strongly agree (SA), Agree (A)
Disagree (D), Strongly disagree (SD).The research hypotheses served as
the controlling factor in preparing the questionnaire, this was to
ensure that the items in the questionnaire reflect on the hypotheses of
the study. The questionnaire was made up of three sections:
Section 1 was designed to elicit information on the demographic
data of the respondents. Selected students were requested to indicate
their sex and whether they are from single parent homes. The academic
performance of the students was determined using the Junior School
National Examination result scores in their cumulative record folders.
Selected students overall performance in ten subjects were computed, and
the average score of each student was recorded, this served as a basis
for ranking their performance very good, good or poor.
Section 2 was designed to elicit information on the level of
academic achievement of both male and female students from broken homes
also Junior School National Examination scores were used.
Section 3 was designed to elicit information on the effects of
socio-economic status of parents on the academic performance of children
from broken homes. The socio-economic status of parents was determined
by sending through the respondents a form to their parents to indicate
their monthly income, information given by parents was later
incorporated into a categorized salary structure based on high, middle
and low socio-economic status. This was done in order to obtain an
accurate information on income of respondents parents.
Validity of the Instrument
Content validation was carried out in order to determine what
proportion of the test items, reflects the expected subject matter
content. To this end, experts in the area of study, modified the
instrument by removing certain items that were not necessary.
Reliability of the Instrument
To determine the reliability of the questionnaire, it was
administered to two groups of senior secondary school students in Oredo
Local Government Area, these schools were not included in the study. A
two week test re-test reliability method was carried out on the sample.
The two weeks interval was to ensure that the respondents do not
remember exactly their previous responses and that the traits being
measured are relatively stable among respondents in order to show
consistency in scores in both tests, hence the use of test retest
method. The scores obtained were correlated and the reliability
co-efficient of 0.76 was obtained, thus indicating that the instrument
was adequate for the study.
Method of Data Collection
The researcher with the aid of three research assistant and
teachers from the selected schools administered the instrument, so as to
ensure orderliness and honesty. Instruction on how to fill the
questionnaire followed their distribution. The respondent filled the
questionnaire immediately and returned them on the spot.
The data generated from the study were analyzed by testing the
research hypotheses formulated for the study. The statistical method
employed was Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (r).
The data collected from the respondents are presented in the table
Hypothesis I states that there is no significant relationship
between broken homes and academic performance of secondary school
Table I shows that when academic achievement was correlated with
broken home of secondary school students, academic achievement had an r
value of .125 at p < 0.05 which was a negative significant
relationship. The r value indicates that there was a negative
significant relationship between academic achievement and broken homes.
Consequently, the null hypothesis is rejected. This indicates that
broken home negatively determine academic achievement of secondary
school students which translates to poor academic achievement.
Hypothesis 2: There is no significant relationship between gender
and academic achievement of secondary school students.
The table reveals that when sex of students was correlated with
academic achievement the r value was .260 at p < 0.05 which shows a
significant relationship. Findings indicate that females from broken
homes perform better in terms of academic achievement than their male
Hypothesis 3: there is no significant relationship between
socio-economic status of parents and academic achievement of students
from broken homes.
The table reveals that when socio-economic status of parent was
correlated with the academic achievement of secondary school students
from broken homes it had an r value of .296 at p < 0.05 which shows a
significant relationship. This indicates that socio-economic status of
parents plays a vital role in determining academic achievement of
secondary school students from broken homes. In order words, the higher
the economic status of parents the more likely it is that students will
perform better in school and the lower the socioeconomic status of
parents the less likely it is that students may perform well
academically in school.
The study has attempted to investigate the relationship between
broken homes and academic achievement of students. The findings showed
that there was a negative significant relationship between academic
achievement and broken homes. This finding is in agreement with that of
Scales and Roehlkepartain (2003) who found that the family and its
structure play a great role in students' academic performance. A
broken home could be a great obstacle to a student, his ability and
maturation to succeed academically. Moreover, this finding is in
agreement with that of Ayodele (2006) who asserted that the environment
where a child finds himself goes a long way in determining his learning
ability and ultimately his academic performance in school.
The study also revealed that there was a significant relationship
between gender and academic achievement of students from broken homes.
It was found that a higher percentage of males from broken homes have a
low academic achievement when compared to females from such homes, with
high academic performance. This finding does not agree with that of
Fansto-Sterling (1995) and Friedson (1985) who found no significant
difference in cognitive ability between males and females. That female
from broken homes performed better academically when compared to the
males, could be attributed to the assertion that females have more
anxiety about study success. As a result of the anxiety to succeed the
female child may work harder in order to perform well academically.
The study also revealed that the socioeconomic status of parents
determines academic achievement of students from broken homes, because
students of single parents with low socio-economic status did not
perform well academically. This finding is in line with the findings of
Bliss (2004) who found that many students from low socio-economic homes
respond uncomprehensively to the lessons teachers try to develop in the
classroom, because their home environment has not exposed them to the
kinds of materials used in schools. Their home environment is less
intellectually stimulating; therefore, they sometimes find it difficult
to cope in school. Supporting the finding, Munsincer (1999) found that
the socio-economic status of parents may affect students academic
achievement, as the purchase of vital school materials, attending good
schools, may depend largely on the financial state of the parents
because, if there is limited finance to take care of the family,
schooling therefore will be affected. This implies that the
socio-economic status of parents significantly affects academic
achievement of students from broken homes.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The conclusion drawn from this study is that broken homes
significantly determines academic achievement of students from such
homes. Moreover, it was also found that girls from broken homes perform
better in school than boys from broken homes. The study also revealed
that the socio-economic status of parents significantly relates to
academic performance of students from broken homes. It is recommended
that secondary schools 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. Parents should be made to stand up to their responsibilities by
making provision for adequate school materials for their wards. 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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HENRIETTA IJEOMA ALIKA PH.D
Department of Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies
Faculty of Education
University of Benin
OGBORO SAMSON EDOSA
Department of Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies
Faculty of Education
University of Benin
Table I: Inter-correlation matrix between broken home, sex, socio-
economic status and academic achievement of secondary school
Broken Sex Economic Academic
home Status Performance
Broken home 1
Sex .120 ** 1
Socio-economic Status .136 ** .159 1
Academic achievement .125 ** .260 ** .296 * 1
Correlations indicated with asterisk are significant at p < 0.05 all
corrections are based on N = 150.