FAMILY STRUCTURES, NEIGHBOURHOOD ENVIRONMENT AND DELINQUENCY: A STUDY OF INMATES IN TWO CORRECTIONAL CENTRES IN LAGOS, NIGERIA


Content

Abstract

This study was designed to examine the influence of family structures, and neighbourhood environment on delinquent behavior of minors at the Special Correctional Centre for Girls (SCCG), at Idi-Araba and the Special Correctional Centre for Boys (SCCB), at Oregun, all in Lagos state of Nigeria and make recommendations. The general objective of the study was to draw up a plan that could be critical in preventing delinquency by identifying and addressing the causes of the problem. An approach drawing from quantitative research methodology was utilized. A cross sectional survey of respondents enabled the exploration of the specific objectives formulated around the purpose of the study, which included the need to “examine the relationship between family structures, types (intact families, non-intact families, divorced families, and kinship families), and delinquency” as well as the need to “determine the relationship between neighbourhood environment and delinquency”. A non-probability sampling technique was adopted for the study. Given that the population of the study was small, the sample size covered all the population. A purposive sampling method was equally employed to select the sample size of study. Two hundred (200) copies of the questionnaire were administered to 200 participants of the study; but, one hundred and ninety three (193) copies were retrieved. The researcher screened and edited each of the instruments, so as to check for internal consistency. At the end of the screening exercise and editing, only one hundred and eighty nine (189) copies were filled out correctly. Statistically, the response rate was ninety five percent (95%). Quantitative data generated during the study were analyzed using statistical tools such as frequency distribution tables and inferential statistics such as Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient (PPMCC). The following findings as revealed in the study attempted to answer the earlier stated research questions. There was no significant relationship between family structures types (intact families, non-intact families, divorced families, and kinship families) and delinquency; there was a significant relationship between parental monitoring and delinquency; there was a significant relationship between parental – adolescent attachment and delinquency; and there was no significant relationship between neighbourhood environment and delinquency. Based on the findings above, recommendations were made.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title page                                                                                                                                i

Certification                                                                                                                            ii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                                iv

Table of contents                                                                                                                    v

Abstract                                                                                                                                  xi

Chapter One: Introduction                                                            

1.1       Background to the study                                                                                            1

1.2       Statement of the problem                                                                                           4

1.3       General Objective of the Study                                                                                  5

1.3.1    Specific objectives of the study                                                                                  5

1.4       Research questions                                                                                                      6

1.5       Research Hypotheses                                                                                                  6

1.6       Significance of the study                                                                                            6

1.7       Scope of the study                                                                                                      7

1.8       Definition of terms                                                                                                     8

Chapter Two: Literature Review                                                                           

2.0       Introduction                                                                                                                9

2.1       The Relationship between Family Structures Types, Parental Monitoring and

Parental Adolescent Attachment and Delinquency                                                    9

2.1.1    Effect of Divorce on Delinquency                                                                             15

2.1.2    Effect of Single Parent Families on Delinquency                                                       15

2.1.3    Effect of Women in the Workforce on Delinquency                                                 16

2.1.4    The Effect of Parental-Adolescent Attachment on Delinquency                               17

2.2       The Relationship between Neighbourhood Environment and Delinquency              20

2.3       Empirical Studies on Family Structures and Delinquency                                         23

Chapter Three: Theoretical Frameworks

3.0       Introduction                                                                                                                25

3.1       Theory of Self-Control and Delinquency                                                                   26

3.2       Social Control Theory and Delinquency                                                                     32

3.3       Social Disorganization and Delinquency                                                                    34

3.4       Differential Association and Delinquency                                                                 35

Chapter Four: Research Methodology                                          

4.0       Introduction                                                                                                                38

4.1       Research design                                                                                                          38

4.2       Study population                                                                                                        38

4.3       Study location                                                                                                             38

4.4       Sample size and Sampling Technique                                                             39

4.5       Instrument for data collection                                                                                    39

4.6       Procedure for data collection                                                                                      40

4.7       Method of data analysis                                                                                             40       

Chapter Five: Data Presentation and Analysis

5.0       Introduction                                                                                                                41

5.1       Data processing                                                                                                           41

5.2       Demographic data                                                                                                       42

5.3       Test of Hypotheses                                                                                                     58

5.4       Discussion of findings                                                                                                63

 

 

Chapter Six: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

6.1       Summary of Findings                                                                                                 71       

6.2      Conclusion                                                                                                                    72

6.3      Recommendations                                                                                                        72

6.4      Suggestion for Further Study                                                                                       73

Bibliography                                                                                                                           74

Appendix                                                                                                                                87

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

List of Tables

Table                                                                                                  page

Table 5.2.1: Distribution of Respondents by Gender                                                              42

Table 5.2.2: Distribution of Respondents by Age                                                                   42

Table 5.2.3:  Distribution of respondents by Family                                                               43

Table: 5.2.4. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by roaming the street when

they were supposed to be in the class                                                             44

Table: 5.2.5. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Harassing and Extorting

Money from Innocent People                                                                        44

Table: 5.2.6. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by cult group affiliation                    45

Table: 5.2.7. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Participation in stealing

using weapons like knife, club, toy gun etc.                                                   45

Table: 5.2.8. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Engagements

in examination malpractices                                                                            46

Table: 5.2.9. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Perpetration of Assault                46

Table: 5.2.10. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by engaging in Acts of Rape           47                                                               

Table: 5.2.11. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by wielding weapon during fight    47

Table: 5.2.12. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by abuse of Substances                   48

Table: 5.2.13. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by consumption of Alcohol             48                                                                                 Table: 5.2.14. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Forgery                                       49

Table: 5.2.15. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Acts of Vandalism                     49

Table: 5.2.16 Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Stealing                                       50

Table: 5.2.17. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by bullying People                           50

Table: 5.2.18. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by telling Lies                                  51

Table: 5.2.19. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by propinquity                                 51

Table: 5.2.20. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Parental Knowledge                   52

Table: 5.2.21. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by parental indifference to

communication with my school teacher                                                          52

Table: 5.2.22. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by indifference to Norm of Dress   53

Table: 5.2.23. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by indifference to

Ward’s Assignment                                                                                        53

Table: 5.2.24. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Indifference to Lifestyle                        54

Table: 5.2.25. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Indifference to Movies              54

Table: 5.2.26. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Indifference to Upkeep              55

Table: 5.2.27. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Availability of

Delinquents in my Neighbourhood                                                                 55

Table: 5.2.28. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Pickpocket                                  56

Table: 5.2.29. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Neighbourhood Influence          56

Table: 5.2.30. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Peer Pressure                              57       

Table: 5.2.31. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Peer Influence                            57

Table: 5.2.32. Percentage Distribution of Respondents by Peer Influence                            58

Table: 5.3.1.  Correlations of “What type of family do you come from?”

by “What type of family do you come from?”                                               59

Table: 5.3.2.  Correlations of “My parents are too busy to notice the type of movies I

watch” by “My parents are too busy to notice the type of movies I watch”  60

Table: 5.3.3.  Correlations of “My parents are not concern about whether I do my

school assignments or not” by “My parents are not concern about

whether I do my school assignments or not”                                                  61

Table: 5.3.4.  Correlations of “What area do you live?” by “What area do you live?”          62

Chapter One

Introduction

1.1       Background of the Study

The rate of delinquency in the Nigerian society and especially among the youths is growing alarmingly and this is really giving concern to most Nigerians. Today, in Nigeria, especially in the urban areas, the streets and residences are no longer safe, no matter how well fortified they may be (Anifowose, 2004). The young people are involved in cultism, pilfering/pickpocket, examination malpractices, assaults, street fighting, substance abuse, alcoholism, certificate racketing and vandalism, to mention but a few. Sadly enough, many children manifest some of these antisocial behaviours before and soon after they start school (Uwe, Ekuri and Asuquo, 2008; Anifowose, 2004). 

 

In its simplest definition, juvenile delinquency is legally defined as criminal behaviour by a minor (Flannery, Hussey, Beibelhausen, and Wester, 2003). For the purpose of this study, delinquent behaviour covers criminal as well as ‘at risk behaviors’ or ‘reckless behaviour’ that could lead to more serious delinquency. These behaviours include but are not limited to, running away from home, driving a car without permission, property damage, theft, manslaughter, and robbery to runaways, curfew violations and vandalism, with many other offenses in between that attracts police involvement. There is no doubt that various experts can give us many theories as to the causes of juvenile delinquency, including family background (Simons, Simons and Wallace, 2004); one's economic background (Ekpo and Ajake, 2013); substance abuse, delinquent peer groups, repeated exposure to violence, increased availability of firearms and media violence, etc (Jermaine, 2005). These variables contribute to the high rate of crime in the society in varying degree. However, they are not the only causes of the high rate of delinquency in the society. Other factors abound. Some of these factors which are often neglected are family structure, neighbourhood environment and their relationship with delinquency for which the present study seeks to investigate. Thus, the present study seeks to investigate the relationship between family structure, neighbourhood environment and delinquency.

 

Family structure is a general name that describes the component members of a family. Predominantly, in Nigeria, the following family structure types exist:  intact families, non-intact families, divorced families, and kinship families (Jermaine, 2005). Intact family or dual parent homes referred to family where both parents – father and mother are united and collectively responsible for their children wellbeing. Intact families are increasingly becoming the minority and more and more single parent families are emerging (Jermaine, 2005). In a survey of 175 mothers of 260 African male adolescents ages 12-16 carried out by Paschall, Ringwalt, and Flewelling (2003) meant to measure areas such as parental monitoring, parental perceived control, communication, relationship, delinquent peers, father absence, and delinquent behaviour. The study revealed that approximately 90% of the mothers surveyed were the biological mothers; the remaining 10% were not (extended family, foster mother, etc.). Poor parental monitoring is believed to lead to an adolescent’s involvement with delinquent and antisocial peers.

 

Another important variable that constitute the bulk of this study is the relationship between neighbourhood environment and delinquency. In recent years, the effects of neighbourhood social and physical environment on the welfare of children and adults have become a major focus for researchers and policymakers (Singer and Ryff, 2001). Specialists in child development have argued that neighbourhood characteristics affect children’s social and behavioral development, educational attainment, participation in crime and violence, and risk-taking behaviors, such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, and early sexual activity (Sastry, Pebley, and Zonta, 2002). Specifically, increasing residential segregation by class and ethnicity between 1960 and 1990 concentrated poorer, minority individuals in poor urban neighbourhoods. This concentration increased the exposure of the poor to infectious diseases, risky health related behaviours, violence, stress, and other types of social problems that differentially affect poor neighbourhoods and contributed to poorer health outcomes for lower income adults and children (Acevedo-Garcia, 2000).

 

Neighbourhood environment refers to the immediate environment where a child lives. The definition of neighbourhood environment is usually vague as it is difficult to map the boundaries. Its definition may vary among individuals living on the same block (Coulton et al., 2001); or may vary by context; for example, a person may define only those living on his block as living in his neighbourhood, but define his neighbourhood as a larger space when determining whether he works or shops in his neighbourhood. From residents’ perspective, the “neighbourhood” is probably best described as a relatively close area with fuzzy boundaries that may expand or shrink depending on context and personal experience (Sastry, Pebley, and Zonta, 2002). Within the context of this study, neighbourhood’ definition will extend to cover those living within the same street or local government area. Huizinga (2005) carried out a study to investigate the relationship of living in a bad (disorganized) neighbourhood and delinquency. The study revealed that the type of neighborhood is not related to violent victimization for the total city-wide sample. However, for females, living in a bad (disorganized) neighbourhood is related to higher rates of victimization. But the present study is not interested in victimization; rather the present study is interested in investigating contextual influence on a child’s behaviour.

 

1.2       Statement of Problem

Nigeria is gradually becoming a breeding ground for sexual offences, i.e., rape, indecent assault, incest, etc. The worst being that, even among children, crimes abound. There are cases of drug abuse. Some children are exposed to violence, immorality and all sorts of vices. Many of the children, who become vagabonds, pick pockets, armed robbers and the likes are children who suffer neglect or who are from broken homes (Ekiran, 2004). In schools, teachers are contending with the problems of truancy, stealing, examination malpractice and diverse lawlessness among students. Parents are also worried by the change in the behaviour of their children, especially soon after their admission into the secondary schools. Regrettably, familiar schemes of inappropriate behaviour among the youths on the campuses and the larger society seem to suggest that the family may have failed in its basic responsibility of proper socialization of the young ones (Nnorom 2005).

 

Nigerian society is facing several problems as a result of juvenile delinquency. There are cases of indecent dressing, especially among girls. Most of Nigerians youths are becoming touts; some of these children are fast becoming school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, high rate of abortion, etc leaving to the waste of manpower. The fate of this country is blurry since those who are suppose to be the leaders of tomorrow are becoming delinquents. The problem of this study is to investigate the relationship between family structure, neighbourhood environment and delinquency (Iheriohanma, 2002). This is motivated by the fact that family and neigbhourhoods environment have significant influence in the life of children. Today, more than ever, many parents are becoming distant from their children as a result of divorce, separation, or even work. Parents spent lesser time with the children and are mostly uninvolved in their children affairs. Most parents do not even care about the types of friends their children keep, whether or not they are active in their school activities, etc. Most parents are neglecting the virtue of good morals and discipline needed for the proper training of their children, etc. This negligence often leads these children to copy the life style of the people around them. Hence the need for the present study on family structure, neighbourhood environment and delinquency.

 

1.3       General Objective of the Study

The general objective of this study is to examine the influence of family structures, and neighbourhood environment on delinquent behavior of minors at the Special Correctional Centre for Girls (SCCG), Idi-Araba and the Special Correctional Centre for Boys (SCCB), Oregun, all within Lagos state of Nigeria.

 

1.3.1    Specific Objectives of the Study

Specifically, the present study seeks to:    

        i.            examine the relationship between family structures types (intact families, non-intact families, divorced families, and kinship families) and delinquency

      ii.            investigate the relationship between parental monitoring and delinquency

    iii.            investigate the relationship between parental – adolescent attachment and delinquency

    iv.            determine the relationship between neighbourhood environment and delinquency

 

1.4       Research Questions

The following are research questions formulated to guide the study.

        i.            Is there a relationship between family structures types (intact families, non-intact families, divorced families, and kinship families) and delinquency?

      ii.            Is there a relationship between parental monitoring and delinquency?

    iii.            Is there a relationship between parental – adolescent attachment and delinquency?

    iv.            Is there a relationship between neighbourhood environment and delinquency?

 

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses are formulated to guide this study

H0:       There is no significant relationship between family structures types (intact families, non-intact families, divorced families, and kinship families) and delinquency

H0:       There is no significant relationship between parental monitoring and delinquency.

H0:       There is no significant relationship between parental – adolescent attachment and delinquency

H0:       There is no significant relationship between neighbourhood environment and delinquency

 

 

1.6       Significance of the Study

The incessant moral decay is becoming a major concern to all Nigerians as life and property are at risks. Today, more than ever, youths are found to engage in several kinds of anti-social behaviour such as roaming the streets, harassing and exhorting money from innocent people. The young people are involved in cultism, armed robbery, examination malpractices, assaults, rape, violence, substance abuse, alcoholism, certificate racketing and vandalism, to mention but a few. The present study is, therefore, working on the assumption that identifying the cause of a problem and will go a long way in providing clue on how to deal with such problems. To this regard, the findings of the present study will serve as an eye opener to the Nigerian government, parents, and all those who have the responsibility of ensuring crime-free- nation as they will be able to take precautionary major in eradicating the causes of delinquency in order to purge the society of delinquency.

 

Findings from this study will also be significant to other researchers and academia as well as students as it will lay a foundation from where further studies will be carried out for the purpose of enhancing knowledge. The study will also contribute to literature on delinquency.

 

1.7       Scope of the Study

The study seeks to examine the relationship between family structures, neighbourhood environment and delinquency. The study will cover two special correctional centres – namely, Special Correctional Centre for Girls (SCCG) and Special Correctional Centre for Boys (SCCB) located at Idi-Araba and Oregun, all within Lagos state of Nigeria with total inmates of eighty (80) and one hundred and twenty (120). The researcher chose these two centres because they contain the variables which the researcher intends to investigate. The variables under study include: examining the relationship between family structures types (intact families, non-intact families, divorced families, and kinship families) and delinquency; the relationship between parental monitoring and delinquency; the relationship between parental – adolescent attachment and delinquency; and the relationship between neighbourhood environment and delinquency.

 

 

1.8       Definition of Terms

§  Juvenile Delinquency: This refers simply to the antisocial or criminal behaviour committed by children under the age of 18 years.

§  Delinquency: This is an umbrella name to all crime committed within an environment such as roaming the streets, harassing and exhorting money from innocent people, cultism, armed robbery, examination malpractices, assaults, rape, violence, substance abuse, alcoholism, certificate racketing and vandalism, to mention but a few.

§  Neighbourhood environment: This refers to the exact or immediate community or neighbourhood where the child lives.

§  Family structures types: This covers intact families, non-intact families, divorced families, and kinship families. Intact families refer to those families where the child lives with both parents. Non- intact family refers to family where the child lives with only one of the parents – either with the father or mother as a result - i.e. single parent. Divorce is a family structure where both parents are separated and the child lives with just one of the families.  Kinship families are a type of family structure where the child lives with one of its relatives order than the parents. It could be living with the grand parent, aunties, uncles, or foster homes.

§  Parental Monitoring: This is a type of family where parents are in constant monitoring of a child’s activities both within and outside the house; conspicuously or inconspicuously.

§  Parental – Adolescent Attachment: This is a relationship where the adolescent child shares affinity with the parents and confide in them.

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