Influence of family structure on students’ self-acceptance in public secondary schools in Kiambu County, Kenya
Graceann Wanjiru Kimaru, Mwaura Kimani, Newton Mukolwe
Globally, urbanization, industrialization, globalization, changing cultural trends and the social metric shift of the late 20th century has led to profound change in family patterns worldwide over the last five decades. The trends indicate that the number of children living in two parent families is declining sharply. On the other hand, the trend shows that the number of children living in single parent families is on the increase. These trends in the family structure have major implications on the psychosocial factors and academic performance of children. Poor academic performance, increase in psychosocial problems such as drug abuse, school arson and strikes, bullying, early sexual debut, teen pregnancy, suicidal thoughts and suicide, and examination malpractices among secondary school students is becoming a major challenge in Kenya. These problems are linked to psychosocial distress caused partly by family structures. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of family structure on students’ academic performance and self-acceptance. The study was grounded on Maslow’s Hierarchy of need’s and Social cognitive theories. Survey research design was adopted for the study. Purposive sampling, stratified random sampling and simple random sampling designs were used accordingly to select 385 form four students. These sampling procedures yielded 194 boys and 191 girls for the study. A self-administered questionnaire containing sub- scales on self-acceptance, interpersonal relationships and social integration and score sheets for the 2017 form four Kenya national examination were used for data collection. This questionnaire was initially piloted to assert its validity and reliability. The hypotheses on the influence of family structure on academic performance, self-acceptance, interpersonal relationships and social integration were tested using Kruskal Wallis H test (one-way ANOVA on ranks). On the other hand, the hypothesis on gender and school type differences in the dependent variables were tested by Independent Samples t-Test. All the tests were carried out at 0.05 level of significance. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 was used in tabulation of variables, generation of appropriate frequency percentages and calculating the relevant statistics. The study findings indicate that majority of students had low self-acceptance levels. Family structure was found to influence self-acceptance significantly. The findings of study are expected to be of importance to educators, teachers and parents in understanding the influence of family structure on students’ academic performance and psychosocial factors and how to improve the psychosocial wellbeing and academic performance of students from the various family structures.