1.1  Background to Study

The home is an essential place in the upbringing of a child as the first environment within a family. The home, which is the traditional nuclear family, is the smallest unit and microcosm of the larger society (Anderson cited in Ekeke and Dorgu, 2014). Therefore, the family is a universal organization and it is hard to imagine how society can function without the family. The family lays the foundation for the child before the child goes to school, and the personality that the child takes to school is determined by the home. The family has great influence on child’s physical, academic and moral development. Agulana (2000) pointed out that the family lays the psychological, moral, and spiritual foundation in the overall development of the child. Thus the home is faced with great responsibility that requires the full cooperation of both parents who must ensure the total development of their children.

Domestic violence has been part of the fabric of many societies and cultures worldwide. It is so commonplace, that it has often gone unnoticed and failed to receive the level of concern it deserves in light of the devastating effects on children and families (Wolfe and Jaffe, 1999). Violence against women and girls continues unabated in every continent, country and culture. It takes a devastating toll on women‘s lives, on their families, and on society as a whole. Most societies prohibit such violence- yet the reality is that too often; it is covered up or tacitly condoned (UN, 2007). Domestic violence has been identified as an issue of global concern (Adekeye, 2008). While the level of violence against Nigerian women remains poorly mapped, in a report, more than two-fifths of women (43%) and almost one third of men (30%) agree that a husband is justified in beating his wife for certain reasons (National Demographic and Health Survey-NDHS, 2008).

Violence against women occurs in all social and economic classes, but women with low socio-economic status are more likely to experience violence (Adekeye, 2008). As noted by Abama & Kwaja (2009), more research is needed to fully understand the connections between poverty and violence against women. It is clear that poverty and its associated stressors are important contributors. A number of theories about why this is so have been explored. Men in difficult economic circumstances (e.g. unemployment, little job autonomy, low socioeconomic status or blocked advancement due to lack of education) may resort to violence out of frustration, and a sense of hopelessness, a condition akin to displacement in psychoanalysis. According to Birdsall, et al (2004), poor women who experience violence may have fewer resources to escape violence in the home. Structurally, family/homes are 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. Frazer (2004) posits that psychological home conditions arise mainly from illegitimacy of children, the label of adopted child, broken homes, divorce and parental deprivation. Such abnormal conditions of the home are likely to have a detrimental effect on school performance of the child.

Life in a broken home or single parent family can be stressful for both the child and the parent. Such families are faced with challenges of inadequate financial resources (children defense find 2004). Schults (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. Thus, the family and its structure play a great role in children’s academic performance. Moreover, parents are probably the actor with the clearest undimentional interest in a high level of their children’s academic performance.

In Nigeria, the existence of single-parenthood was unknown and where they existed they were ignored as exceptional cases. However, nowadays, they are fast growing family patterns both inside and outside Nigeria. In Nigeria, among Yoruba’s, the parental roles are culturally determined and distributed. The maternal roles are that of child-rearing, home training and playing of complimentary roles, while the paternal roles are that of economic responsibilities and disciplines of children. The child is morally, mentally upright and emotionally balanced when the caring responsibilities are carried out by both parents. Therefore this study will investigate the influence of domestic violence and broken homes on adolescents’ academic performance.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

As young people attain adolescence, their responses to living with domestic violence are more likely to attract a mental health diagnosis or a label of delinquency. It is observed that feelings that would characterise young people living with domestic violence are largely a feeling of fear, sadness and loneliness, including suicidal feelings. The adverse effect of domestic violence is very much widespread that children raise in such homes are vulnerable of growing up to become armed robbers as seen in the example of the recently arrested robbery kingpin, Abiodun Ogunjobi, a.k.a. Godogodo. The Vanguard newspaper reports:

“The infamous robbery czar from South-West, Abiodun Ogunjobi, a.k.a., Godogodo, has revealed that lack of parental care was one of the main reasons why he became a deadly robber. Godogodo was responsible for terrorising the zone for over 14 years; he was in charge of most bank robberies and other deadly operations. On August 6, 2013, in an interview at the state Police Command headquarters, Ikeja, Lagos, he confessed that his parents abandoned him at an early age to fend for himself after series of violence in the home”.

There is a global awareness of the Importance of the home environment on students’ academic performance. In Nigeria, most home are not intact as a result of issues of incompatibility of the couples, incessant violence leading to separation, divorce, death of a parent and the quest for the 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 clear, 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 the families back-home so children from such homes are in dilemma, especially in schools.

Moreover, a single parent faces doubled responsibilities requiring time, attention and money of the parent. Hence, less attention is paid to the education of the child. The teachers commonly describe children from broken homes as more hostile, aggressive, anxious, fearful, hyperactive and distractive than children from intact family (Tenibiaje, 2011). In order to ensure that their children acquire appropriate and balanced social, psychological, moral and academic development; both father and mother have indispensable and unique responsibility for the psychological, educational and career development of their children. However, the advent of broken homes have distorted these complementary roles. This has in turn impacted adversely on the total upbringing of the children including their psycho well-being and educational performance. It is against this backdrop that this study seeks to investigate the influence of domestic violence and broken homes on adolescents’ academic performance.

1.3   Purpose of the Study

This study will be conducted with the following objectives:

i. To explore the influence of domestic violence on adolescents’ academic performance.

ii. To find out the influence of a broken homes on adolescents’ academic performance.

iii. To determine if is there any joint influence of domestic violence and broken home on adolescents’ academic performance.

iv. To examine the influence of gender on adolescents’ academic performance.

v. To find out if tribal differences havea significant influence on adolescents’ academic performance.

1.4   Research Questions

The undertaking of this research project will be guided by the following research questions:

i.  Will domestic violence and broken homes have a significant joint and independent influence on adolescents’ academic performance?

ii. To what extent will broken homes significantly influence adolescents’ academic performance?

iii. Will domestic violence have a significant influence on adolescents’ academic performance?

vi. Will gender havea significant influence on adolescents’ academic performance?

1.5  Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses will be tested in the course of this study.

i. There would be a joint significant and independent influence of domestic violence and broken homes on adolescents’ academic performance.

ii. Individual who report high scores on broken home would have lower academic performance than those who report lower score.

iii. Students who report low scores on domestic violence would have higher academic performance.

Male students would perform significantly higher than female students.