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Background to the Study

Behaviour problem is defined as behaviour that is socially defined as a problem, as a source of concern, or as undesirable by the social/legal norms of conventional society and its institutions of authority, and usually elicits some form of control response (Jessor, Graves, Hanson and Jessor, 2008). Behaviour problem among secondary school students are of concern to educators, counsellors and psychologists. This is because of the potential of Behaviour problem at the adolescent stage to undermine the achievement of both personal and national development goals. The danger to achievement of goals stems, largely, from the varying control responses that are often elicited with regard to Behaviour problem.

Behaviour problems are broadly classified into two categories: externalizing problem behaviours, and internalizing problem behaviours. Externalizing problem behaviours are characterized by emotions, feelings and actions that are aggressively outwardly expressed, usually toward other persons. These include: physical aggression, property damage, violation of the rights of others and of social norms as well as a disregard for authority. Internalizing problem behaviours, on the other hand, are characterized by actions, emotions, and feelings that are inwardly directed at the individual. These include: overwhelming anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Both forms of Behaviour problems are recognized as being prevalent among secondary school students the world over.

Adolescents have varying degree of behavioural problems such as indiscipline, truancy, bullying and examination malpractice ranging from indiscipline, truancy, bullying to alcohol consumption. Indiscipline is a multifaceted phenomenon regarding its displays and causes as well as its meanings and functions in the social, psychosocial and pedagogical fields. Concerning its displays, Freire and Amado (2009) believed that the major situations are framed in what they point out as the first level of indiscipline and which are those incidents of disruptive nature whose disturbance affects the good classroom functioning. The incidents that might be framed in the second and third levels are conflicts among peers and conflicts within teacher-student relationship which might be taken on proportions of violence and even delinquency.

The problem of indiscipline according to Yaroson (2004) permeates all facets of the life of man and has brought man down to the knees. School discipline according to Gaustard (2005) has two main objectives. The first is to ensure the safety of staff and students and the second to create an environment conducive to learning. Acts of indiscipline occasioned by students’ misconducts involving violent and criminal behaviour defeat the goals of education. Acts of indiscipline if allowed to incubate under current favourable conditions by education providers and consumers could hatch a monster that will be difficult to exterminate (Idu & Ojedapo 2011, Tunor 2002).

Bullying is a pervasive problem in schools that affects a lot of students. In recent times, it is becoming a bigger crisis with vicious consequences. Bullying is not just a child’s play, but a terrifying experience many school children face every day (Aluede, 2006; Beran, 2005; Craig, 2008; Thornbery, 2010). As Beran (2005) further noted, in spite of school officials, teachers, parents and students exerting great efforts to make schools friendlier and safer places, a reduction of bullying is not always evident, as threats of attacks in schools often leading to breakdown of rules and orders are often the case in many Nigerian schools.

According to Federal Ministry of Education (2015), since the last decade, several cases of violence against children such as torture, kidnapping, shooting, sexual harassment, rape, corporal punishment and so on have been reported in various newspapers, magazines and television stations all over the world. However, there is lack of documentation of most of the violent acts. This lack of documentation and increasing violence rate against children were part of the reasons for the global in-depth study of violence against children by the UN Secretary-General as directed by the General Assembly Resolution 57/90 of 2002 to provide a global picture.

Specifically, bullying as a sub-set of school violence among school-age children occurs in many schools across the globe (McEachern, Kenny, Blake & Aluede, 2005). Despite lack of documentation of incidents of bullying across the globe, studies conducted in various countries have indicated that a growing percentage of student population is being bullied everyday across the globe and that the rates of bullying vary from country to country (Duncan, 2009).

Alcohol consumption appears very rampant in schools and in the society at large. It seems to be the source of one of the country's major health challenge as well as social problems. The impact of alcoholism on secondary school students has remained a source of worry to parents, schools, society and even the government because of the attendant misbehaviours that usually follow it have negative effect on the society and educational advancement cum achievement of the students. Current trends suggest that overall drug use is on the decline, but the proportion of secondary school students continuing to initiate illicit substance use remains troubling. According to a recent survey, youth perception of harm associated with illicit substance use (e.g., marijuana) remains low, whereas abuse of inhalants is at a recent all-time high (Johnston et al., 2005). In 2004, approximately 1.4 million adolescents reported past year methamphetamine use (SAMHSA, 2005), and nearly 2.1 million youth across the United States engaged in marijuana use for the first time (Johnston et al., 2005). As a result of these trends, researchers increasingly have targeted adolescent substance users.

There are various locations where students have access to alcohol such as beer parlours, clubs, parties and so on. It has been observed that people across cultures and countries have different reasons for drinking alcohol. Some people drink in order to conform to the norm of a particular group while adolescents majorly engage in alcohol drinking for ego assertion birth as a result of desire to be independent. For other adolescents they engage in drinking in order to reduce frustration, relieve boredom, fatigue and in addition they perceive that it could help them to escape harsh realities of their world. Some youth’s intake of alcohol is influenced by their parents, personal gratification and temporary adaptations are also reasons while young adults venture into alcohol consumption which is usually festered by family background crisis such as divorce or separation. Hence, such young adults are exposed and lack significant adults in their life to check their socially undesirable behaviours.

Several scholars and researchers has attributed alcohol consumption to a lot of reasons and factors. World Health Organization (2004), posited that alcohol consumption are usually due to environmental factors, friends or peer group, social wellbeing and uncontrollable drinking habits of an individual. Again it is not uncommon to find students consume alcohol because of curiosity, urge and desire to achieve success in a competitive world, emotional disturbances such as anxiety due to stress, subculture and advertisement influence. Bennett (2007) viewed alcohol as a drink that is as dangerous as cocaine and heroin. He went further to note that the unfortunate thing about it is that, unlike other similarly dangerous drugs, it appears to enjoy greater acceptance and its consumption is often openly applauded by the government, press and manufacturers. This could be as a result of the resources which the government in form of tax receive and higher sales made from it. It is noticed that even at the periods of economic depression; breweries continue to record and declare heavy profits and parts of which also goes into expansion of the production plants.

In school settings, behaviour problem lead to wastage of valuable class and study time due to punishments and other corrective measures that are imposed on the students. In some cases, behaviour problem may lead to discontinuation of schooling, when students get expelled from school. Finn, Fish and Scott (2008) observed that misbehaviour in school can be harmful to the individual students as it interferes with learning, decreases the chance of graduating, or reduces the likelihood of entering or completing post-high school education. This study therefore attempts a survey of behaviour problem among secondary school students.

Statement of the Problem

The school had always remained one of the safest places, next to the home in a child’s life, a place where students should feel safe and secure, and where they can count on being treated with respect. The reality, however, is that only few students or pupils can harmoniously blend with their school mates without experiencing one form of behaviour problem or the other (Fajoju, 2009). Behaviour problem in schools is an issue that has become more prominent in the last few years, as news articles about violent deeds within the school setting is now on the increase. The behaviour problem in adolescents can have serious consequences for the adolescents, their family and friends, their schools, and society. It has been frequently reported that problem behaviours are the most common reason why adolescents consult psychologist and paediatric psychiatrist, although a lot of studies has been conducted to survey behaviour problem across the globe, no studies has actually be conducted on Awka-North Local Government Area of Anambra State. This study therefore sought to fill this gap.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to survey behaviour problems among secondary school students. Specifically, the study will:

  1. Examine prevalence of behaviour problem among secondary school students
  2. Examine the prevalence of behaviour problem among male and female secondary school students
  3. Examine prevalence of behaviour problem among rural and urban secondary school students
  4. Determine the prevalence of behaviour problem among single and mixed secondary school students

Research Questions

The following research questions has been raised to guide the study:

  1. What are the behaviour problem among secondary school students?
  2. What are the behaviour problem among male and female secondary school students?
  3. What are the behaviour problem among rural and urban secondary school students?
  4. What are the behaviour problem among students from single and mixed secondary school students?

Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses has been formulated to guide the study:

  1. There is no significant difference between male and female secondary school students on behaviour problem
  2. There is no significant difference between rural and urban secondary school students on behaviour problem
  3. There is no significant difference between single and mixed secondary school students on behaviour problem

Significance of the Study

This study will be very useful to the students, teachers, parents, school administrators, educational policy makers and guidance counsellors.

The findings and recommendations of the study will inform students and help them understand the manifestations of behaviour problems in schools. It will enlighten them on ways of managing behaviour problems for their overall well-being.

The teachers will also benefit from the study since it will help them to easily identify students who exhibit behaviours that reflect behaviour problems. They will also be equipped with the knowledge of managing students that are prone to behaviour problems and working effectively with parents.

Parents will benefit from the knowledge of behaviour problems which will enable them identify and associate with their children with the intent of solving the perceived problems.

School administrators will be encouraged to pay more attention to social re-orientation programmes such as sex education, health and safety awareness, HIV/AIDS awareness, drug-free initiatives and adolescent counselling programmes.

Educational policy makers will equally benefit from the study in that relevant information on behaviour problems in schools will inspire them to take pro-active measures, which may include enacting laws that will protect the rights of vulnerable students. The study will also encourage the educational policy makers to work on solving the prevalent problems of social injustices, inequalities and economic challenges in the society.

Finally, guidance counsellors will benefit from the findings of the study since they will be exposed to how the different manifestations of behaviour problems can affect students and various ways they can help in eradicating or managing such behaviour problems in the school system

Scope/Delimitation of the Study

The study will focus on the survey of behaviour problems among secondary school students. The study will be delimited to Awka-North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Operational Definition of Terms  

Adolescents: This is a transitional stage of physical and psychological human development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to   adulthood.

Behaviour Problem: This refers to a subjective report, by the respondents, of social undesirable behaviours.

Secondary School: This is a school which provides secondary education, between the ages of 11 and 16 or 11 and 19, after primary school and before higher education.

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