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The study investigated influence of locality and parental socio-economic background on moral behaviour among adolescents in the south eastern Nigeria. 176 adolescents 91 males and 85 females selected from four secondary schools, two from urban and rural areas each. The participants were within the age bracket of 12-17 year with a mean age of 15 years. Ethical moral self inventory fits (1965) was used for data collection. 2×2 factorial design was adopted based on two independent variables locality (urban and rural) and parental socio-economic (low and high) with two levels each. Two way ANOVA statistics was used for data analysis. Finding revealed a significant influence of locality on moral behaviour among adolescences. F, (1, 172) = 64.02 P<.01; A significant influence of parental socio-economic background on moral behaviour F, (1,172) = 172.09 P<.01. No interaction effect was observed F, (1, 172) =3.73 P>.05. Findings were discussed in relation with the literature reviewed and recommendations were also made.



As manure is necessary for good yielding vegetation, so is a good moral background to an ideal society. From the above statement, morality seems to be an inevitable quality of an ideal society. Thus, depriving any community access to a good moral reputation is as bad as terminating her entire existence. One of the insidious social illness that threatens the future survival of Nigeria as a developing nation is the continuous declination in morality level of her adolescents. The concept of morality is essential in the understanding of thoughts and behaviours.

From the 46 chromosomes in the human genome, 45 are unisex (Harris, 1998). Female and male are therefore similar in many physical and traits, such as age of setting teething, and walking. They are also alike in many psychological traits, such as overall vocabulary, certainty, intelligence, self-esteem, and happiness. Actually, there are some differences and it is this difference, not the many similarities that capture attention and make news. Researchers in the main stream sociological tradition exemplified by Limp-man Blumen (1984) have argued that people first acquire gender through socialization in childhood. It has been argued kin a large number of studies that boys act differently toward girls from birth onward. In the first 24 hours after birth, according to one study, parents described boys as more alert stronger and firmer and girls as less attentive, weaker, and more fragile, this go a long way in determining the behavior of the child in all aspect of his or her development including assertiveness. Gender is virtually assessed in every study that evaluated treatment, retention and outcome (Berrigan & Garfield, 1981). People expect woman to behave unassertively. Women also avoid behaviors that do not fit “the feminine role and when they do engage in “masculine assertiveness” they are likely to encounter disbelief or even hostility from others. Woman tends to be very agreeable be cause they want to have good social support and they may be hard to achieve consensus. Men and women speak different (Tannen, 1990).Men tends to be more aggressive speakers than women (Poynton, 1995) and women tend to be more polite (Newcombe & Arnkoft, 1970). Because of this difference, woman tends to be judged lower in assertiveness than men (Cakoft, 1975). The alternate perspective emphasized that powerless speech styles are used by both genders. When one has little central or power over a task, one may become uncomfortable performing the task, and this may end up speaking in a powerless style (Wheelam & Verdi, 1991). According to Colman (2003) he defines gender as “non-technically synonym for sex, especially in feminist psychology, the behavioral, social, and cultural attributes associated with sex”. Moreso, Cherlin (1999) construed gender as the social and cultural characteristics that distinguish women and men in the society. Therefore, being assertive will be subjected under this factor to investigate how it differs or manifest in these two different individuals. Behavioral change due to age is striking especially changes on physical appearance (Casmir & Auerbach, 1998).

However, it is a well known fact that the environment where we live has a great influence on our behavior.  Environment which often are being referred to as locality, culture denote one meaning. In this study apart from gender, it is argued that locality will also create difference in human behavior. Evolution has prepared us to live creatively in a changing world and to adapt to environments from equatorial jungles to arctic field. The diversity of our language, customs, and expressive behavior suggest that much of our behaviors are socially programmed not wired. The understanding of behavior rooted in our cultural or locality context is more important in order to avoid the erroneous generalizations based on the assumption of western foreign cultures. Global traits do not exist and the greater the cultural variation the smaller the situational comparability. The assertive behavior should be evaluated within a given locality or cultural context. Cultural and social norms for behaviour are key variables in the definition, training and evaluation of the effectiveness and consequences of interpersonal behaviour. Reorganizing the important of locality or cultural context in assertion; the goal of assertion training is to have an understanding of assertive in various cultural or locality context, to recognize that discriminate those different situations, and to build an increased repertoire for responding effectively in each of these contexts (Wood & Mallinckrodt, 1990). Locality here refers to as district or area where people live; however, it encompasses the eternal surroundings within which an organism lives, or any external factors that affect the organism’s development or behaviour (Colman, 2003).

Assertive behaviour means standing up for your rights and expressing your truths without shrinking from what you want to communicate. Assertiveness also includes recognizing and expecting the equality, rights and truth of other people (, 2008). Behavior which enables a person to act in his / her own best interest to stand up for herself, without undue anxiety, to express interest, feeling, comfortable; Or exercise personal rights without changing the right of others, we call Assertive behavior (Alberti & Emmons, 1970, 1974).

Hence, the aim of this study is to investigate and determine which of these two factor gender or locality actually portrays assertiveness. Since, we all are made of different biological, social, religious and cultural characteristics. It is imperative to know that being assertive or unassertive which many studies have shown to cause different healthy and unhealthy behavior can be as result of the individual gender or the locality or culture where he or she is coming from.

Over the years adolescence has been portrayed as a period of storm and stress, inner turmoil, transition and a way-station in development. Just as every other stage of life, adolescence has special problems which must be understood and solved by appropriate technique based on a sound knowledge of the psychology of the adolescents and so also many developmental changes takes place during this period, including personality development. Thus there is an urgent need for parents and society to understand the psychology of adolescence in the light of these considerations and facilitate the adolescent’s achievement of total development.

Personality is the special group of traits that makes one unique. Looks, actions, and interests all contribute to one’s personality. It also includes skills, achievements, feelings, thoughts, and habits. It even includes how one gets along with others and what others think of the person. In fact, personality is a product of physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth. As one grows and changes in each of these ways, personality grows and changes, too. This will continue throughout the lifetime. In case of the personality pattern, the different psychophysical systems that make up the individual’s personality are interrelated, with one influencing the others. The two major components of the personality pattern are the core- the ‘concept of self’- and the spokes of the wheel- the ‘traits’ which are held together and influenced by the core. The real self concept is the concept that people have of who and what they are. It is a mirror image determined by their roles, their relationships with others and what they believe the reactions of others to them are. Each kind of self concept has a physical and a psychological aspect. The physical aspect is composed of concepts individual have on their appearance, their sex appropriateness, the importance of their bodies in relation to their behaviour, and the prestige their bodies give them in the eyes of others. The psychological aspect is composed of concepts individual have on their abilities and disabilities, their worth and their relationships with others. At first these two aspects were separate but they gradually fuse as childhood progresses. And traits are specific qualities of behaviour or adjustive patterns, such as reactions to frustrations, ways of meeting problems, aggressive and defensive behaviour, and outgoing or withdrawing behaviour in the presence of others. Traits have two outstanding characteristics, individuality which is shown in variations in the quantity of a particular trait rather than in a trait peculiar to that person, and consistency, which means that the person behaves in approximately the same way in similar situations or under similar conditions. Everyone’s personality is a mixture of traits. People who have a pleasant mixture of personality traits are easy to like. They are not always silly or serious, not always forceful or weak, not always outgoing or quiet. People with healthy, well-balanced personalities may show a little of each trait at different times.

Studies of the development of the personality pattern have revealed that three factors are responsible for its development; hereditary endowment, early experiences within the family, and events in later life. The pattern is closely associated with maturation of the physical and mental characteristics which constitutes the individual’s hereditary endowment. Heredity refers to all the traits that are passed from ancestors to the person. It is the environment that may help in bringing out certain traits more than others. Heredity forms the basic personality and then, the effects of the environment add to the personality development. Environment is made up of everything and everyone around. It includes home, school, neighbourhood, family, friends, teachers, etc. All parts of the environment, particularly home environment has the greatest effect on personality. The way a person relates to his family affects his personality development.

It has been rightly said that home life is the highest and finest product of civilization. Home, being the first and the major agency of socialization, it has great influence on the development of the child, particularly in shaping his attitudes and behavioural patterns.

The early life experiences of the child in the family lay the groundwork for the type of future behaviour and the development of attitudes, values and a lifestyle. It is here that the child learns his first lesson in citizenship and true moral discipline through face-to-face contacts. Family members, particularly parents, are considered to be the architects in shaping the personality of a child during the first few years of life. Parental behaviour perceived by children plays an important role in their personality development. Further, their relationships with family members are greatly influenced by the home setting- the pattern of life in the home, the kind of people who make up the group living in the home, the economic and social status of the family in the community and other conditions that give the home a distinctive character. It is a well known fact that most of those who become successful in life have come from homes where parental attitude towards them is favourable and where a wholesome relationship exists between parents and children. If parents want their children to achieve better, they should provide and maintain in the family highly congenial atmosphere.

Some of the other important personality determinants are cultural influences, physique, physical condition, attractiveness, intelligence, emotions, names, success and failures, social acceptance, status symbols, school influence, etc. Analytically, personality of a child is the consequences of acquisition, assimilation and adaptation of cultural norms and values of one’s own groups, through social interaction, social learning and socialization process. The nature of personal experiences which may be emotional, social and intellectual are unique to each individual child and that is one of the factors of personality differences among children. Nevertheless, each child is born with potentialities for his own individual responses and for resistance to environmental influences.

However, home/ family sets the pattern for a child’s understanding towards life in general. Moreover, as the child lives in the close contacts with the family members, he/she initiates behaviour patterns and learns to adjust to life as they do. Basically there are two major effects that home puts on the life of a child. First, it provides the condition that facilitates acceptance or rejection of behaviour. The second, the individual expression in the ways in which the child’s personality is shaped.


The aim of this study is to determine whether gender will determine assertive behaviour among adolescents and also to examine whether locality will determine assertive behaviour among adolescents.


This study will provide answers to the following problems.

  1. Will gender significant determine assertive behaviour among adolescents?
  2. Will locality significantly determine assertive behaviour among adolescents?


Gender: This refers to the cultural and social characteristics that distinguish woman from men in the society.

Locality: This refers to the external surrounding within which an organism (human) lives, or external factor that affect the organism development of behavior. This can also be defined into urban and rural locality.

Urban locality: These are people who have resided in the city from birth or 6years after birth.

Rural Locality:  These are people who are born and brought up in the rural area of village.

Adolescents: These are group of individual who are between the ages of 13-19 years, referred to as the teen years.

Assertive behaviour: This is expressing personal right and feelings in such a way that the rights of others are not violated.