Effect of Divorce on Children’s Conflict Behaviour

One in every three marriages conducted in Nigeria fail within the first three years (Al Jazeera, 2012). Thus, by the time students in Nigeria reach the age of eighteen, 50-60% of them will be affected by divorce (Adegoke, 2010).  Given the large number of children affected by divorce, research has focused on why and how divorce affects children’s adjustment (Potter, 2010; Sun & Li, 2011). Research consistently shows a negative relationship between parental divorce and children’s well-being. For example, children from divorced families have been found to have higher rates of depression (Strohschein, 2005) and antisocial behaviors (Vandewater & Lansford, 1998). Studies have found parental divorce to have a significant negative effect on children’s educational success, such as academic achievement and attainment (Amato, 2001; Frisco et al., 2007; Lansford, 2009;).

Among children of divorce, relatively few studies have examined effect of divorce on children’s conflict behaviour.According to Quinlan (2003), it is difficult for a child to realize that two people who love themselves do not love each other again. Most children could not comprehend the complexity of strains that led to the rapture of marital love. Fraser (2003) contends that performance and behaviour of children living with a single parent is below that of children living with the two parents. He observed that children who lives with a parent especially a divorced one, usually feels unsecured, always attention seeking and anxious that his/her education may be seriously hindered or disrupted through these feelings and at the end it would affect the child’s total behaviour. It has been statistically proven that children in single parents home fare worse than those with two parents (States News Service, 2005).

It has been established that family structure contributes to five characteristics of a child’s well being. These include lower birth rates and higher death rates among infants when there is just one parent.Compared to children who grew up in continuously intact families, offspring from divorced parents are often found to have lower psychological well-being (Ferner, 2002) have more emotional problems such as depression (Evbodaghe, 2002) have more negative self-image perform less well at school exhibit more delinquent and aggressive behaviour have a higher risk for substance use and they also have more problematic relationships and early sexual intercourse (Fraser, 2003).Previous research has shown parental divorce to be negatively associated with academic achievement.

However, most of this research has been focused on the educational outcomes of children and adolescents as opposed to young adults. This has created a vacuum in understanding the link between divorce and children anti-social behaviour. To fill this gap,  the current study investigates whether and how parental divorce affects children’s conflict behaviour in a school setting.

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Divorce is a phenomenon that affects the emotional, physical and social well being of the divorcees and those close to them. Most people do not enter into marriage with the intention of getting divorced. But divorce in a rapidly changing, industrialising Nigeria is fast becoming a common event, something that many will experience, or have already experienced.  In Nigeria, the divorce rate according to Alice (2012 citing the Almanac Book of Facts), was over 12,000 every year since 1975. Although, statistical records of marital instability are not compiled in Nigeria as yet. But Newspaper often reports cases of marital disruption on a weekly basis in Lagos and its environs. In Kwara State, the Ministry of Information and Culture recorded that 1,697 Marriages were registered for both the Churches and Marriage Registry from 1984-1988. During the same period (1984-88) there were 12,104 divorces (Court Case File, Child Welfare Centre and Oja-oba Area Courts, Ilorin). According to these records, the rate of divorces over marriages is at 71% approximately 7 divorces to every marriage (7:1). This shows that in Nigeria, a lot of couples did not go through the court, church or mosque to conduct their wedding but approach the court for dissolution of marriages.

Women experiencing divorce often find themselves in a situation that is not shared by friends and family.  The problems they experience are different to those experienced by other members of their community, and consequently, they may feel isolated from the community. Demographers predict that more than 45% of first-time marriages in the 21st  century will eventually end in divorce (Amato, 2010; Cherlin, 2010; Clarke-Stewart & Brentano, 2006). Research is plentiful on the topic of divorce, particularly as they affect children of the divorcees. However, there are limited data and scholarly works on the impact of divorce on women in Nigeria. It is on this basis that this study addresses the impact of divorce on women with specific reference to financial status, emotional well-being, and self-esteem.

1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Statement of the Study
1.3 Purpose of the Study
1.4 Research Question
1.5 Research Hypotheses
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Scope of the Study
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Theoretical Framework
2.2.1 Conceptualizing of Divorce
2.2.2 Causes of Divorce
2.3 Divorce and women financial status
2.4 Divorce and women emotional well being
2.5 Divorce and women self esteem

3.1 Research Design
3.2 Population of the Study
3.3 Sample and Sampling Procedure
3.4 Instrument of Data Collection
3.5 Procedure of Administration
3.6 Method of Data Analysis

4.1 Answers to Research Hypotheses
4.2 Discussion of Findings

5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendation


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