The study examined the effect of parental socio-economic status on students’ personality adjustment at the secondary level in selected public secondary schools in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State. Also, this study reviewed some relevant and related literatures under sub-headings. The descriptive research survey was applied in this study for the assessment of the opinions of the selected respondents for this study, with the use of the questionnaire and the sampling technique. A total of 200 respondents were sampled for this study. Five null hypotheses were formulated and tested, with the application of Pearson Product Moment Correlation and the t-test tools at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the testing of hypotheses, the following results emerged: there is a significant relationship between parental socio-economic status and students’ personality adjustment, there is a significant relationship between broken homes and adolescents’ personality adjustment, there is a significant gender difference between the performance adjustment of adolescents in intact homes and those in divorced homes, there is a significant influence of parental discipline on adolescents’ personality adjustment in schools, and there is a significant influence of family size on adolescents’ personality adjustment in schools. Based on the conclusions reached in this study, the following recommendations were made: parents should ensure that they give every support that their children and wards need in their academic endeavour and social adjustment. Parents should endeavour to have the number of children that will not give them much stress in training or bringing them up. At this present period where the economy has nose-dived, parents should be aware of this down-ward economic trend, and therefore be conscious of the number of children they rear in their families. This is because, too many children will give much stress to the parents and this can affect their economic well-being and the education of the child.



Title Page                                                                                                                    i

Certification                                                                                                                ii

Dedication                                                                                                                  iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                    iv

Abstract                                                                                                                      v

Table of Contents                                                                                                       vi



1.1       Background to the Study  

1.2       Theoretical Framework

1.3       Statement of the Problem

1.4       Purpose of the Study

1.5       Research Questions

1.6       Research Hypotheses

1.7       Significance of the Study

1.8       Scope of the Study

1.9       Definition of Terms



2.1              Concept of Personality

2.2              Factors Affecting Personality

2.3              Theories of Personality

2.4              Influence of Socio-economic Status on Personality Adjustment

2.5              Influence of Broken Home on Personality Adjustment

2.6              Influence of Parental Discipline on Personality Adjustment

2.7              Influence of Intact Home Factors on Personality Adjustment

2.8              Influence of Family Size on Social Adjustment 

2.9              Influence of Birth Order on Social Adjustment

2.10          Parents’ Support to Adolescent Education

2.11          Who is an Adolescent?

2.12          Summary of Review



3.0       Introduction

3.1       Research Design

3.2       Population of the Study

3.3       Area of Study

3.4       Sample Size and Sampling Method

3.5       Research Instrument

3.6       Validity and Reliability of the Instrument

3.7       Procedure for Data Collection

3.8       Data Analysis




4.1       Introduction

4.2       Descriptive Analysis of Respondents’ Bio Data

4.3       Testing of Hypotheses

4.4       Summary of Findings


5.1       Introduction

5.2       Summary of the Study

5.3       Conclusions

5.4       Recommendations







1.1            Background to the Study   

Parents are the greatest single influence on their children’s development in two indisputable ways. Parents act as socializing agents in providing goals and value system from which the child develops various patterns of behaviours. In some situations, parents adopt care-free attitude towards the learning of their children, even their social orientation, and this has in many instances, caused the low academic performance of children even maladaptive behaviours in their immediate society (Hake, 2009).

According to Ndubuisi (2005) there is a positive correlation between parental attitude and children’s social orientation and academic achievement. Ndubuisi (2005) is of the opinion that parents’ dimensions of value placement on their children’s well-being or otherwise, significantly affects the child’s positive or negative adaptation to his/her society and even the way he/she carries out his/her academic work in school.

Many factors contribute directly or indirectly to the personality development of a child both within and outside the school system. These factors stem from either heredity or environment. Many psychologists such as Freud (1952) and Adler (1958) de-emphasize the significant role of heredity in the total development of the child while underlining the prominence of the environment. Craft, Allport, Barns and Mondi (2002), made some contributions to the understanding of the relationship between the child’s home background and his personality adjustment in school. A child is the product and reflection of the society. While the school runs the formal education system, the home provides formal and non formal educational experiences.

Many psychologists have advocated that the immediate environment (Home) should be made quite stimulating so as to enhance the development of a child’s intellect and good personality adjustment. According to Locke (1970), the child is like a clean slate at birth and that the environmental influences determine what fills the vacuum. This is what Locke referred to as “Tabula Raza”. In other words, whatever the child inherited from the parents may be enhanced or dampened by the kind of environment he/she lives in.

Studies carried out by Mudock and Mudock (2004) show that the first six years of a child are very important because whatever goes wrong at this stage will have long lasting effect on the child when the child grows up. It is during this early period that the personal characteristics and mental health of the child are established. The child learns how to love and be loved and how to cope with sibling rivalry. Also, it is at this time that the child develops feelings of hostility and aggression if the environment is not conducive. This early socialization process is important because it helps a child adjust to places outside his home.

Psychologists and sociologists like Jersild (2005), Hurlock (2006), believe that if solid foundations are not laid for the acquisition of basic skill when the child is young, learning and personality adjustment becomes a problem later in life as they are is often unsuccessful.

Joyce, Almond and Edith (2005) have long established that in effective schools where high quality education is provided, there is usually frequent communication between the school and parents and this is mainly positive, such as at award days and parent days and two-way, with parents often initiating contact with the school. This should involve parents monitoring efforts to accountability and acting as advisors in school improvement efforts. This may be achieved by having parents serve on standing and ad-hoc special committees and boards of the school such as special events committee, disciplinary committee and governing board. This way, parents get first hand knowledge of the needs and problems of the school and work co-operatively with the school in resolving them (Aloe, 2006).

When parents possess the necessary knowledge and skills relevant to the school curricula such parents may serve as information sources, the audience for school academic activities and/or class assistants. There also seems to be ample evidence to suggest that parental involvement in home work and assignments may improve children’s performance in school. Also, parental positive and co-operative attitude towards the development of the school has been found to influence positively on children’s personality adjustment in home or school. Such parental behaviours are reflected in good attendance at PTA meetings, sending children to school on time, fees are paid on time, children are made to complete homework on time and parents visit the school regularly to monitor the progress of their children. Teachers have a remarkably difficult job and will appreciate any one who supports them and acknowledges their work.

1.2     Theoretical Framework

The Conflict-Marxian Theory of Family

Marx Weber (1864 – 1920)

This theory see the process of marriage and the family as sympathetic in which members of the family encounter unending problem of conflicting interests. The Conflict-Marxian theorists perceive marriage and the family as a continuous competitive social system. Arnolds (1990) stated that competitive, due to its nature of being a state of negative interdependence between the elements of social system. Due to this conflict, there is gain/loose situation, because what is gained to one party, becomes loose to the other party in the great divide. The most important ingredients or elements in the conflict – Marxian theory is that conflict is unavoidable part of humanity and associations which involves family life and marriage. Adamson (2000) observed that the Marxian theories see the family as an institution surrounded with inevitable confrontation or conflict and of constant state of change. The emphasis worthy of note in this theory, is the competing needs, values, goals or objectives of partners who are involved in marital unions. For the fact that people’s wants/needs are scarce and in little quantity, therefore, this desires to attain or get one’s needs or wants, brings about competition and conflicts among people in the society, more especially the family.

Edith (1998) stated that the Conflict – Marxian theorists do not see the constant confrontation in the family as necessarily destructive, rather they consider conflict in the family as essential element and catalyst of interest that are out to be treated in a constructive manner through negotiation and compromise. The Conflict-Marxian theorists therefore, perceive conflicts in the family potentials for the promotion and enhancement of interpersonal growth and development in the family.

The above theory is apt to the topic polygamy and family size and the students’ academic performance. This is because in polygamous and large sized families, there tend to be rivalries between wives and among children of the wives. Most times, this rivalry bring about hatred among the children and among the wives of the polygamous man. The after effect could be the man loving some children and hating some of them. In other words, he could be selective of who to sponsor to school and whom he should not.

1.3            Statement of the Problem

The problem of low socio-economic status among parents and its attendant effect on the personality adjustment of students cannot be overemphasized. Most parents in Nigeria today are poor and the majority of them are unemployed. This can be linked to poor  economic situation in the country and the world economic recession. As a result, parents lack the wherewithal to maintain themselves and their children. Most Nigerian parents fail in their duties to send their children to school. Many of them whose children are in school, do not take adequate care of them because they lack the financial power to carry or foot their children’s school bills. This has caused many children whose parents are poor to constantly absent themselves from school, while majority of the children have finally dropped out of school. This has caused the children to become socially maladjusted due to lack of socialization with their peers in the school.

Not only that, the children of the poor are not properly cared for. For instance, children whose parents are not rich, do not feed well before and after school. Thus most of them go to school in an empty stomach, and while in school, they do not pay attention to what is going on in the classroom. A child needs proper feeding to complement social adjustment and cognition, but children of the poor do not feed adequately not to talk of balanced diet. For lack of money, children whose parents are poor, are meant to live in an unfriendly environment where they are incapable of reading freely and the materials to study are not available for them to carry out meaningful academic work. This also leads to poor learning outcomes and poor interaction with their mates at school and at home. The above problems therefore, necessitated this study.

1.4            Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine parental influence and socio-economic factors as correlates of personality adjustment among youths in Lagos Island Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The specific objectives of the study include:

1.       To find out whether there is a relationship between parents’ socio-economic status and adolescents’ personality adjustment.

2.       To examine whether there is a relationship between broken homes and adolescents’ personality adjustment.

3.       To assess whether there is a difference between personality adjustment of adolescents from intact homes and divorced homes.

4.       To investigate whether parental discipline will influence personality adjustment of adolescents.

5.       To examine whether family size will influence adolescents’ personality adjustment.

1.5            Research Questions

The following research questions were raised in this study:

1.       Will there be any relationship between parents’ socio-economic status and adolescents’ personality adjustment?

2.       Will there be any relationship between broken homes and adolescents’ personality adjustment?

3.       Will there be any difference between personality adjustment of adolescents from intact homes and divorced homes?

4.       Will there be any influence of parental discipline on personality adjustment of adolescents?

5.       Will there be any influence of family size on adolescents’ personality adjustment?

1.6            Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide this study:

1.                 There will be no significant relationship between parents’ socio-economic status and adolescents’ personality adjustment.

2.                 There will be no significant relationship between broken homes and adolescents’ personality adjustment.

3.                 There will be no significant difference between personality adjustment of adolescents from intact homes and divorced homes.

4.                 Parental discipline will not significantly influence personality adjustment of adolescents.

5.                 Family size will not significantly influence adolescents’ personality adjustment.

1.7            Significance of the Study

This study will be of great benefit to the various segments of individuals and group of individuals in the society. For instance

(1)             The students will benefit from this study because its findings and recommendations will help them to appreciate that they need parental care and positive values for them to be successful in school and society at large. It will make the students to be more adaptive to parental control and care.

(2)             Parents would also benefit from this study because it will enable them to be up and doing in the upbringing of their children if they want them to be successful in both academic and in life. This study will enlighten parents on the best methods of bringing up a child in the home.


(3)             Teachers would be beneficiaries of this study because, it will enable them to be more enlightened on how best to train their children in the home and at school, as surrogate parents.

(4)             The society will undoubtedly, benefit from this study because it will enable the adults members of the society to learn that parental value system has something to do with the child’s behaviour and his/her academic success in the school.

1.8            Scope of the Study

The study examined the influence of parental and socio-economic factors on the youths personality adjustment in selected five senior secondary schools in Lagos Island Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.9            Definition of Terms

Operational definitions of terms were appropriately provided in this study. Virtually, all the variables in the study were defined accordingly.

(1)             Parents: This means father, mother or ancestors e.g. our first parents (Adam and Eve).

(2)             Students: This means a person who is studying at a college, polytechnic or university; boy or girl attending schools; anyone who studies or who is devoted to the acquisition of knowledge.

(3)             Academic Performance: This refers to the level or rate at which students in school perform in their academic career. It also shows the level at which students carry out their school works at a given period of time and the result of it.

(4)             Socio-Economic Status: This refers to the level of social stratification of individuals in a given society. It is the socio-economic distinction amongst members of the society.


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