Background to the study
Every human institution is faced with one problem or the other. The Problem facing the family unit today is divorce. It is a social problem which has become a threat to the existence of marriage institution. Liman (2012) defined divorce as the final termination of marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties. Robinson (1995) defined divorce as the dissolution of marriage contract between a man and a woman by the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction, or by an act of legislature. To Liman (2012), adultery, infertility, desertion, negligence, abusive treatment and infidelity are reasons for divorce. The effect of divorce is enormous and the truth of the matter is that the off springs of the union are the chief casualties and victims of divorce.
There are common effects of divorce on children and they are psychological problems, poor intellectual development and poor parent-child relationship. Nwoye (1991) opined that psychological effect of divorce on children can cause them to develop anxiety disorders where they experience overwhelming fear of being abandoned. Their feelings of isolation and sadness can manifest through other problems such as eating disorders. He went further to say that divorce affected children usually display insecurity, neediness, irritability and constant craving for attention. These behaviours consequently lead to aggressiveness towards peers, resulting in poor relationship with others.
George (2000) opined that the effects of divorce on the children educational performance in examination and continuous assessment pose a great problem in our society. Unstable parents must bear in mind that children’s education is the pivot on which their lives depend, and considered to be the most vital avenue for producing worth while children. Failure to maintain a stable family and give the children sound education will hamper their progress in life, growth and development, and even the society in general. Education is one of the investments that can last for life, and make them fit for socio political functions. It is not in doubt that children from divorced families perform poorly in academics as a result of emotional instability and uncoordinated direction in life.
Akinboye (1992) maintained that during the confusion period of family and high emotional intensity in divorce families, anti-social actions occur more frequently among children of divorced than other groups. Thus, these behaviour materializes as fighting, bullying on other children, cheating, lying and stealing which affects their cognitive and perception in the classroom setting and thus lead to poor academic performance. He went further to say that divorce is a terrible thing for everybody concerned. It has a negative effect on married couple, their children, their friends and relatives. But it is more devastating for the growing children as they are confronted in their home by situations and experience that may be frustrating, unpleasant, and capable of arousing anxiety from time to time in their lives. Some of these negative experiences arouse fear, pain and stress. This is in line with Schaffer (2011) that children are also affected by divorce in many other ways. Some children may blame themselves (however unrealistic) for their parents divorce, and subsequently harbor unrealistic expectation that they can bring their parent back together. Again this prevents them from accepting reality and it has a negative implication on their studies. Children may also be ashamed of their parents’ situation. They may attempt to hide it from their friends (thus further pushing off reality) or they may withdraw from their classmate in attempt to avoid embarrassment. After a divorce, a child’s performance may be adversely affected by the custody arrangement. Onibokun (2005) stressed that a poorly arranged visitation schedule, aggravated by different transitions between the parents’ home may prevent a child from functioning well in school. One by product of divorce is the stress of a single parent family. A child may be affected by the financial difficulties include mandatory tuition. A single parent may also have difficulty in coping with raising a family while working at the same time.
Parents need to remember that divorce is stressful for the children, just as it is for the parents. In the short term perhaps for several months or even couple of years, the children may start to act in ways that are irritating and most disrupting on their general classroom works or learning outcome, since education today is child centered, the child would be expected to acquire certain specific or desirable skills; knowledge, attitude, capabilities and academic excellence which marital instability therefore is standing as a barrier Hence, this study is prompted to investigate the effects of divorce on students academic performance in secondary schools, in Bende local Government Area of Abia state.
Statement of the Problem
Marriage is an ageless contract desired and designed by God for the purpose of unity of man and woman and procreation. This divine institution is lossing its glory. The marital instability can be attributed to various factors such as lack of trust, Abuse, lack of communication, parental or friends influence etc. These lead to divorce. This problem does not border only on Bende Local Government Area of Abia state but a universal problem.
Divorce is a very disastrous thing for everyone concerned. It has a negative effect on the married couple their children, friends, relatives and the general public. But the children are the most affected. Children of divorced parents usually exhibit insecurity, irritability and endless desire for attention. The children’s skill and perception became dampened and many lead to poor overall academic performance. Infact, the effects are numerous. These problems have therefore prompted the researcher to carryout her study on effects of divorce on students academic performance in Bende Local Government Area of Abia state.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to ascertain the effects of divorce on the academic performance of secondary school students in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State. Specifically the study sought to;
- Ascertain how divorce affects students performance in examination
- Examine the effects of divorce on students’ performance in
- Find out how divorce affects students’ performance in continuous
- Find out the effects of divorce on students’ reading abilities.
Significance of the Study
The result of this study may be of immense benefit to the public and private individuals, government, parents, religious leaders, school counselors, students, teachers, school management and researchers.
The findings of the study maybe of great help to the public and private individuals as it will expose the ugly and negative effect of divorce on children generally and secondary school students in particular which will serve as a caution to couples to avoid divorce by all means
The result of the study may help the government to know the negative impact of divorce on children that are members of the society and future leaders. It will then motivate the government to establish a law or policy against divorce in order to have sound disciplined citizens.
The result of the study may also help teacher and the school management to study and understand the coping strategies to apply to the solution of the effects of divorce on the affected students’ academic performance.
The findings of the study may help the religious leader and school counselors to identify the characteristics of children from divorced family (parents) and then devise the best way to mold their behaviour to suit and be acceptable by the society they belong.
The study may help the researcher to understand the negative effect of divorce on children. It may motivate them to study and carry out research on other aspect of divorce there by creating strong awareness of the negative effect of divorce on the society as a whole.
Lastly, the findings of the study may help to educate the students of the divorced parents about the need for them to report their problems to other family members, and social welfare officers for assistance, instead of indulging in anti-social behavior.
Scope of the study
The study centered on the effect of divorce on the academic performance of secondary school students in Bende Local Government Area of Abia state. The areas of performance the study intend to cover are, the effects of divorce on students’ performance in examination, the effect of divorce on students’ performance in class work, the effect of divorce on the student performance in continuous assessment and the effects of divorce on student reading abilities.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study;
- How does divorce affect students’ performance in examination?
- How does divorce affect students’ performance in class room?
- How does divorce affect students’ performance in continuous assessment?
- What are the effects of divorce on students’ reading abilities?