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  • Background of the Study

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 (2010) 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 of parent and illegitimacy. Divorce is a legal termination of valid marriage.

According to Frazer (2004), psychological home conditions arise mainly from divorce and parental deprivation. According to him, such abnormal conditions of the home, are likely to have a detrimental effect on school performance of the child.

Life, in a divorced or broken home can be stressful for both the child and the parent. Such families are faced with challenges of inadequate financial resources (Children Defence Fund, 2004). Schults (2006) noted that if children 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. Rochlkepartain (2013) is of the opinion that the family and its structure play a great role in children’s academic performance. Levin (2011) states that parents are probably the actor with the clearest interest in a high level of their children’s academic performance. To some extent, there is simple evidence to show the marital instability brings about stress, tension, lack of motivation and frustration obviously, these manifestations act negatively on a child’s academic performance.

According to Fraser (2013) performance and behaviour of children living with a single parent is below that of children living with the two parents. He observed that children who lives with a parent especially a divorced one, usually feels unsecured, always attention seeking and anxious that his/her education may be seriously hindered or disrupted through these feelings and at the end it would affect the child’s total behaviour.

Available statistics of divorce cases in Bolgatanga indicated that one thousand, five hundred and ninety-seven (1,597) registered marriages were dissolved by the registry during the period of five (5) years (Bolga High Court Marriage Registry, 2012). The statistics showed that one hundred and ninety-four (194) marriages were dissolved in the year 2007; two hundred and twenty-nine (229) marriages were dissolved in 2008 while two hundred and eighty-seven (287) marriages were dissolved in 2009. Further to that, three hundred and twenty-four (324) marriages were dissolved in 2010 and three hundred and thirty (330) marriages were dissolved in 2011, respectively. Between January and April of 2012, the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly (BMA) also recorded a total of two thousand, nine hundred and seventeen (2,917) dissolved customary marriages which covered a period of six years. These alarming statistics underscore the seriousness of the problem of divorce no matter the factors that led to it adultery, incompatibility, poor communication, financial problem, abusive behaviour, lack of commitment to it, alcohol and drug abuse and mental illness.  Parental divorce rates in the U.S. are at 50% for first marriages, and subsequent marriages are 2.5 times more likely to end in divorce.   Academics are one of the most important aspects of a student’s life, with good grades, students are able to get into colleges and universities, and allow them to earn degrees in order to obtain jobs that they want. If the relationship between the student’s parents is unstable and filled with conflict, this can alter the student’s academic performance. (Afifi, 2013; Brown, 2012; Overland, 2012).

Udansky and Wolf (2008) identified single parenting as a major problem on the rise. Parent divorces is a common phenomenon in the community today, but still represent a major life stressor for the individuals involved, with potentially strong negative consequences for the mental and physical health of all members of the family. The effect of divorce on child academic performance has been the subject of research attention for several decades, and has long been viewed as the cause of a range of serious and enduring behavioural and emotional problems in children and s (Kelly & Emery, 2003).

Park and Kim (2003) argued that the mother traditionally’ play substantial role in the care of the family. The mothers’ cares for them, listens to their problems and provide solutions. Mothers are very important in ensuring a happy childhood and meaningfully adult life for their children. The parent child relationship studies indicate that a father can contribute uniquely to the development of the child independently of the mother’s contribution. However, when issues on factors such as emotional, intelligence, self-esteem, competence and confidence come up, the father cannot be replaced easily by the mother (Park and Kim 2003).

Forman and Davies (2003) maintained that at adolescence, the individual is getting developed psychologically to cope and bear with stress and tensions which they are faced with. A child biological temperament plays a vital role in the eruption and resolution of divorce (Davies 2003). According to Ekundayo&Oyeniyi (2008) and Adebule (2012), the society is tackling with many behaviour problems of the  students, which include truancy, disobedience, drug addiction, smoking, flirting, stealing, armed robbery, examination malpractice, cultism, thugery, sexual abuse, sex activities, indiscriminate sex, homosexual (gay and lesbianism) as part of behaviour problems prevalent among students (Omotosho, Adeniyi and Bada 2010).

Adebowale (2006) in a study on the social behaviour of s as it affects their moral behaviour observed that the type of home which the comes from, determine to a considerable extent, the type of attitude which he will develop to exhibit and his academic performance. Parental divorce has a long and lasting impact on lives of any student. The state of the home or the marital status of parents speaks volume about the life of the child. Separated homes have been found as a crucial factor causing anti-social problems poor academic performances among secondary school adolescence. Olusola (2008) believed that the highest incidence of s whose parents are living separately may become way-ward, unruly, or take to sexual misconduct as a way of searching for affection which was lacking in their unhappy parental home. Many researchers have shown that immoral behavior and poor academic performance are prevalent among s who are from unstable or separated family, with less adequate parental training on their moral and social attitudes (William, 2002). This study intends to assess parent divorce on the academic performance of  students.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

The issue of parental 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. Children need a secure emotional base after their parents separate, exactly as they needed before (McIntosh, 2005).  The major protective factors that facilitate children’s adjustment to divorce are low inter-parental conflict, effective and constructive resolution of conflict between the parents, the quality of the parent-child relationship, nurturing, authoritative parenting from at least one parent, and cooperative co-parenting with good communication (McIntosh, 2003).

It is these family processes that contribute to determining children’s academic performance, well-being and ‘outcomes’, rather than family structures per se (such as the number, gender, sexuality and co-habitation status of parents) Kelly (2000). Single parenthood may arise when either the male or female decides to produce and rear a child or children outside; parents can help make a smooth transition for their children during a divorce (Wolf 2008). Parents can present a reliable and cooperative parenting style when providing their children with discipline and behaviour expectations (Carlson and Hines, 2003). This study intends to assess parent divorce on the academic performance of students.

1.3    Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives of this study,

  1. To determine the relationship between parental divorce and academic performance of the s.
  2. To examine various reasons for parental divorce.
  3. To identify effects of parental divorce on s.

1.4    Significance of the Study

It is the view of the researcher, that the study would give possible suggestions that would help the government, and other educational stakeholders in resolving many family/marital problems in the following ways: It is the believe of the researcher that, if divorce is discouraged through formulation of suitable marriage policies by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), civil society, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the various traditional authorities, it would help improve the academic performance of students. Various religious bodies could adopt the findings to promote effective social work, guidance and counseling and marriage counseling services in their educational institutions and churches. The study would serve as a source of information for teachers, guidance and counseling coordinators, parents, social workers and nongovernmental organizations. Finally, it is envisage that this study may be useful for other researchers who are in need of literature and method of improving upon their findings further.

1.5    Scope of the Study

The study seeks to find out the effects of divorce on student academic performance. While the study recognizes that parental divorce have effects on both adolescence and adult, and as such this study will limit itself only to the secondary school student of secondary school in AMAC FCT Abuja

1.6    Operational Definition of Terms

The terms that are used in this study are defined as they are used in this study in order to avoid any ambiguity and vagueness as it relates to research work.

Parent: is a caretaker of a child

Student: a person formally engaged in learning, especially one enrolled in a school.

Divorce: the process by which the couple leaves the home or decides to stay on his or her own.

Academic performance: is the outcome of education at the extent to which a student has achieved their educational goals.

Adolescence: the transitional stage of physical and psychological human development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to adult.