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The study focused on whether there was a significant relationship between hawkers and non hawker’s in manifestation of psychopathology, whether there was a significant relationship between male and female hawkers in manifestation of psychopathology.

100 subjects were involved in the study made up of 50 (25 male 25 female) hawkers who constituted the experimental group and 50 of non-hawkers who constituted the control group. The latter were secondary school students, senior secondary one, senior secondary two, and senior secondary three or (SSI, SS2, SS3) of university of Nigeria Enugu campus secondary school Enugu.

Both experimental and control groups were randomly selected and the subjects aged 12-17years. The hawkers were selected in such a manner as to reflect equal representation of subject groups of the independent variables and were drawn from four major layouts in Enugu such as Abakpa Nike, Obiagu, New Heaven, and Uwani.

The two groups (experimental and control) were measured on Awaritefe psychological index form c. The results of the study showed thus: (1) The was a significant relationship between hawkers and non hawkers in manifestation of psychopathology. P<.05.  (2) There was no significant relationship between male and female hawker’s in manifestation of psychopathology. The limitation of these findings were discussed and some recommendations made.




Hawking has been defined as “the offer for sale, by going from house to house or street to street”.

(oxford Advanced learner’s dictionary of current English): It is a system of trading where by the trader carries his wares about.

Aiyeluro, (1979) street hawking is the process whereby the hawker hawks his goods by carrying the goods on his or her head by means of a tray, or minor forms of transportation like wheel barrows, bicycles, trolleys etc. in search of customers in the process of which he could employ the use of bells or shout the name of the item he or she is hawking in order to attract the attention of any interested customer.

Anyanwu, (1992): it is therefore a trading activity that involves movement across house or street with certain articles usually food or household commodity advertised by the seller through shouting the name of the item, ringing of bell or the like.

Street hawking especially by children constitute a social problem. It exposes the hawker to road accident, excretion, thirst, and hunger since he mores from place to place. The street hawker comes into contact with all sorts of people including those with ignoble intentions.

Children who engage in hawking often do not attend school and when they do, they may not concentrate on their studies due to distractions. Their attention is often drawn to opportunities of earning money thereby not taking their studies seriously.

Ofordile (1986) observed that early exposure of the child to search and desire for money will not doubt make the juvenile to acquire dishonest behaviours. According to him, not all children render the correct account of what they sold. Instead, some amounts are kept off for buying groundnut, Ice cream and so on, the next day.

He added that it is most likely that when such money cases to come, the child may already start learning to steal small amount of money from home to maintain his or her acquired lifestyle.

Vinolia and Fubara (1988) described street hawking as an aspect of child abuse and neglect. They argued that certain economic and socio-psychological factors induce street hawking which they added have damaging effects on the developmental processes of children although they did not indicate whether the practice is associated with psychopathology.

Other studies show that hawking exposes children to sexual abuse and as such, the trade could be classified as a high risk behaviour in the content of human immune virus (Hiv) infection and spread.

Ebigbo and Abaga (1990) interviewed 100 hawkers and non hawkers in Enugu aged between 8 and 15. they discovered that 5% of the hawker as against 9% of the non hawkers have had sexual intercourse (sexually abused) out of this number (67), only 7 reported the event either to the parent or guardians and only one was reported to the police although it did not lead to an arrest because the assailant escaped before police arrived. Half of them would either be raped or enticed to sexual intercourse and virtually all of them will be sexually molested through touching, optical and verbal enticement to sexual stimulation”.

Olatawura and Odejide (1976) on the actiology of psychological disorders in children have implicated persistent absence of father, separation of parent, material and emotional deprivation.

Nzewi (1989) Observed that intra-psychoic theorists see psychopathology as reflecting the operation of the unconscious anxieties, tension, repression and other defensive manoeures which have persisted from early childhood.

Million (1973) observed that the concept can be approached differently thus “on a behavioural level, for example, disorder could be conceived of as a complicated pattern or response to environmental stress.

Street hawking predisposes individual to adverse group influences. Social psychological researches have shown that people influence one another and this influence is more fundamental during earlier   formative years. Thus people especially children who engage in hawking are likely to exchange experiences for example  a male hawker who has learnt to correct some harm with the packaging of the edible wares he carried as a way of dealing with hunger.

While on the street may teach the same to his collegues, a female counterpart who “gained” small amount of money in exchange for sexual exploitation may expose other girl hawkers to the high risk behaviour. These adverse influences have for reaching implications for these hawkers.

Studies indicate that most children who hawk are motivated by poverty. Either that the parents do not earn enough money or that they have a lot of children to take care of. This often results in sending these children to the street to supplement family income or giving them out in marriage too early or as house helps.

Information at the child abuse and neglect monitoring centre, African Network for the prevention and protection Against Child Abuse abb Ne dect.


The study aim at establishing whether the act of hawking is related or associated with psychopathology in other words, is psychopathology a side-effect of street hawking? In the process, it will want to know whether male hawkers will show symptoms of  psychopathology  more than their female counterparts.

This study will also inform us whether there is a significant difference between those who have hawked a year or below and those that have beyond one year experience. In addition, it will indicate whether there is a significant effect of living with one’s parents or without one’s parents. That is if hawers who live with this parents will manifest different degree of psychopathological symptoms from those who live with people other than their parent.


It is important for us to understanding what we do, why we do it and what potential gain or danger it holds for us.


In this end, the hawker, parents and relations, the government and the society at large need to be adequately informed on the cognitive, behavioural, medical, social or in fact psychobisocial effects of hawking. In this respect, the study will establish empirically wetter hawking is associated with psychopathology with a view to advising parents and guardian accordingly.

It will complement and facilitate the activities of non-governmental organization which are interested in prevention and protection against child abuse and neglect, child right monitoring, and primary health care of children and young person.

The study will also provide a database for the government and other health policy markers on the implications of street hawking. This may help to attract the attention of the relevant government organs towards appropriate legislation to discourage or at least ameliorate the hazards associated with the trade.

In addition to the foregoing, it will provide social workers and other health workers with information on the nature and prevalence of psychopathology among hawkers. Such information may facilitate rehabitation of such individuals.

Apart from drawing attention of this hitherto neglected aspect of the impact of street hawking, it is hope that the study will help to promote the campaign against hawking and as such contribute to better humanity whose young ones will no longer be exposed to the hazards of street life


Following the dearth of literature on the psychopathological implications of hawking, a gap exists in the understanding of what specific impacts hawking may have especially on children and young persons. Partly due to the present level of development in Nigeria, enough attention and resources have not been focused on biosocial cum psychological aspects of this trade.

Again, the culture has been identified as a sustaining agent of hawking. Some parents and guardians see street hawking as a socialization process relying heavily on their own development experiences for example that is, that they hawked when they were children and so tend to see nothing wrong with the trade.

This is most regretable. These parents fail to understand that time are changing that society has degenerated so much from what it was such that each day a child is sent out to hawk, he/she is increasingly being exposed to risks and hazards every minute. In olden times, It was not common in Nigeria to hear of rap, to hear of an old man having canal knowledge of a six years old girl (ANPPCAN case report 1991-1993) to hear of day care kids hired for begging (National concord newspaper of Wednesday 17 February 1993) or orphanages in kids sales scandal (Lagos weekend Newspaper of Friday 3 march 1993). All these point to deteriorating moral standards which the child hawker has to contend with.

The economy on the other had has been blamed even parents who may be aware of the dangers of street hawking have had to send out their wards to the streets on the ground that their income is not enough to meet with family expenses. They send the children to the street to earn more income for the family. These parents exploit their children and predispose them to life-long damaging influence.

Children are not goods to profit from but human beings equally endowed and entitled as any other adult. This study therefore hopes to empirically throw light on the prevalence of psychopathological symptoms among Hawkers so as to fill the existing gap in information on the effects of hawking. Do these symptoms manifest more in male than in female hawkers?


  1. A child or young persons: A child or young persons as used in this paper is any person below the age of 18. This definition is consistent with the international labour organization (ILO) decision in 1973 in relation to child labour and which states, among others, that “each member for which convention is force undertakes to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of child labour and a raise progressively the minimum age of admission for employment or work to a level consistent with the fullest physical and mental development of young person.
  2. The minimum age for admission to any type of employment or work which by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out is likely to jeopardise the health, safety or moral of young person shall not be less than is years.
  3. Hawking: A trading activity that involves movement across houses or streets with certain articles usually food or household commodity advertised by the seller through shouting the name of the item, ringing a bell or the like.
  4. Psychopathology: This refers to psychological disturbance as contained in the Awaritefe psychological index form c (API (c).



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