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The descriptive survey research was adopted in this study. It is an attempt to investigate the impact of deviant behaviour on the academic performance of senior secondary students in Educational District VI of Lagos State Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area. A sample of 200 randomly selected students were used, from four secondary schools. Another sample of 50 randomly selected teachers were also used from the above measured schools. A 5 point likert scale type questionnaire containing 20 items and 30 questions in Mathematics and English Language were also administered to the students. The content of the instruments were face validated by my supervisor and other experts in the department. While the reliability was ascertained at 0.9 significant level.

Two null hypotheses were postulated and tested using the independent t-test. The first and second hypotheses were analyzed at 0.9 level of significance. The result from this study showed that deviant behaviour of students has a negative impact on their academic performance.

Governments should adequately provide the needs of the learner at school. Parents on their parts should adequately provide for their children because this will go along way in preventing deviance. Parents should show love and affection for their children. Also parents, must control and prevent their children from watching unwholesome mass media programmes.

Teachers should on their part, show affection and care to their students. They should also have interest in their teaching as a career and attend classes regularly in order to prevent students from developing deviant behaviours.



1.1Background to the Study 

Deviant behaviour no doubt, affects the academic achievement of students negatively. According to Uzor (2000), children who exhibit behaviour deviation, are often times prone to poor academic performance than children who behave well in the society. Students who are disrespectful to the normal societal behaviours do not see learning activity as something with devoting time for. Rather, as their normal characteristics, they tend to disregard serious learning activity and this has often translated in their poor or dismal academic outcomes. Shaw (2001), is of the opinion that students should not be distracted in their focus on learning. He opines that individuals who are given deviant behaviours are also distracted from proper and serious learning activities in schools. According to him, those who disregard and disrespect the laid down rules and regulations of the school, do so at their academic peril.

Nwaka (2004) added that, students’ academic performance has a negative correlation with deviant behaviour. According to her, students who do not regard the instructions of their parents, teachers and adult members of the society, hardly make it in life. That they hardly progress and reach the goals of life, including their academic goal.

In everyday language, to deviate means to stray from an accepted path. Many sociological definitions of deviance simply elaborate upon this idea. Thus, deviance consists of those acts which do not follow the norms and expectations of a particular social group or society (Arnolds, 2005).

In practice, a field of study covered by the sociology of deviance, is usually limited to deviance which results in negative sanctions. Infact, the American Sociologist Marshal (2000), has suggested that the term deviance, should be reserved for those situations in which behaviour is in disapproved direction and of a sufficient degree to exceed the tolerance limit of the community.

Recently, there have been increasing concern in the tertiary institutions that students’ behaviours have deteriorated. The most concerning behaviours for teachers are those that involve minor violations of rules and regulations, disruption to the smooth running of the classroom. Violent behaviour in schools is also a major concern of most teachers, although, extreme incidents of school violence are a global phenomenon (Infantino and Little, 2004).

There is considerable evidence that those students who are deviate are not regular in school for whatever reason, have limited lifetime opportunities, socially, professionally and economically (Reid, 2004). They are more likely to experience unemployment, underemployment and long term dependency. There are strong association, between deviant behaviours like truancy, exclusion, crime and high students’ achievement in school (McCarthy, 2004).

Deviant behaviour like poor attendance to classes is a major source of discontent among teachers and it hinders teaching and learning (Macbeath, 2005). Teachers are often frustrated by the persistent non-attendance of certain students, particularly as helping them to catch-up takes time and distracts from teaching the remainder of the class. Students who are deviant in school fall behind in their work and frequently have difficulties within friendship, McCarthy et al (2005).

According to Owuamanam (2003), deviant behaviours refer to the problem of wrong doing by young persons. It involves the problem of truancy, absenteeism, stealing, vandalism, drug abuse, use and addict, terrorism, disobedience to laid down rules and regulations of the school authorities, including other behaviours that are against the social norms. Anyamele and Adeleke (2004), observe that adolescents tend to move in groups because they are in the era of peer group relationship. They want to be seen acting in conformity with their peers, however, unconventional such act may be. Hence, the need for some understanding and responsible adults at background, who would serve as role models for the youngsters to re-direct their energies towards the right channels that would produce rewarding and satisfying pattern of behaviours in them. This patterns of wrong behaviour enstrange them from their teachers and peers and the resultant effect is low academic achievement.

The study of deviant behaviour in our secondary school and other institutions of learning, has assumed greater attention. For sometime now, especially in the last decade, it has become a common feature in our secondary schools and universities to see students engage in street fighting, sports hooliganism or carry out violent acts, and in the process engage in wanton destruction of life and properties. It has become a more common feature in Nigeria today, to hear from one media or the other about secondary and tertiary school students that engaged in crimes such as drug abuse or addictions, sex offences, smuggling, armed robbery, pick-pocketing, snatching of cell phones, cybercafe crimes, rapping, truancy and theft of all kinds. These no doubt, are heights of deviant behaviours and its resultant effect has been maladjustment of the perpetrators (students) and consequently the dismal failure or downward performance of students in our tertiary institutions.

1.2Theoretical Framework

Man has always found the stage of human development interesting and fascinating. Consequently, man has always entertained theories about the nature of development. One of the ancient notions was known as pre-information, that is, man'’ tendencies and attributes were thought to exist performed at birth. Then came the homonculus view of human development which was an elaboration of pre-formationism and which proposes that the sperm contains a fully form miniature man, who simply-develops, once conception has taken place, in an incremental way until maturity is reached (Herbert, 1981).

Theologians and philosophers also speculated about the nature of man and his motives. While some thought of man’s nature as selfish, and pessimistic, others fell that man is not basically selfish and had optimistic views of man’s behaviour. One of the controversies in developmental psychology concerns the concept of “stage”, and its importance in describing the development of psychological processes such as thinking and personality. Ausubel and Sullivan (1990) describe the periods in which qualitatively new and discontinuous (inter-stage) changes in personally organization are being formulated as transitional phases or developmental changes. During this transitional periods, the individual is in the marginal position of having lost an established and accustomed status, and of not yet having acquired new status towards which the factors impelling developmental changes are driving him.

These transitional periods according to Eriks (1993) are ‘sensitive period and impose a heavy burden on his adjustive capacities. Since each stage of development corresponds with a particular form of social demand, the individual must deal with and master a central problem in order to avoid a potential crises”.

Various theories of adolescent development have been formulated as far back as the period of Plato and Aristotle, the great Greek Philosophers.

The next stage which is between the ages of the five and twelve is described by Freud as the period of ‘latency’. This is a period of calm, when the attention of the child is focused on the school work, play and friends. This period of calm is disrupted by the onset of ‘puberty’. And once again the child relives the conflicts of early childhood. Psychoanalysts are of the opinion that, the adolescent turmoil as postulated by Hall is inevitable. They claim that without this turmoil, the young person will not be able to make necessary adjustments which will help him in his transition to adult life (Adamson, 1995).

Psychoanalysts believe that at adolescent stage, girls have strange feelings towards males, and boys also get themselves attached to the females. However, both male and female engage in forms of sublimation in order to meet the demands of society and in forms of intellectualism and ascentism. 

Morrish (1978) on his part, suggested that deviant behaviour was not necessarily delinquent or criminal behaviour. Although, it may of course, be the first step to some anti—social behaviour which may come within the sanction of the law and therefore irrevocably delinquent. According to him “deviancy” was relative as well as contextual. He suggested that it was better to speak of deviant forms than to stigmatize the individuals as deviants. Similarly, Tattum (2002), and Brown (2004) subscribed to the belief that norm was genetically or instinctively violent and aggressive. These writers haven maintained that human beings are killers by nature, stating that it was a built-in characteristic which man had inherited from his animal ancestors and instincts.

The adolescent child begins to manifest good reasoning power. He therefor begins to ask questions and to challenge the adult authority at home, in the school and in the society at large. There is need for proper guidance in order to curb indisciplinary behaviours among the adolescent children since this is a common problem. Certain actions embarked upon the adults should be explained to them in order to carry them along (Adamson, 2000).

Adolescents get excited because of their intellect. They begin to show interest in things of the mind the arts and ideas for their own sake. They have certain interests which get them excited and worked up when the adults are opposed to such. For example, religion could be a bone of contention. Hence, many adolescents nowadays are found trooping in large number to the new found ‘Pentecostal’ churches which seem to satisfy their needs socially and intellectually when compared with the Orthodox churches.

This refers to the problem of wrong-doing by young persons. It involves the problem of truancy, stealing, vandalism, terrorism, drug addiction and other behaviours that are against the social norms. Adolescents tend to move in groups because they are in the era of peer group relationship. They want to be seen acting in conformity with their peers, however unconventional such act may be, (Owuamanam, 1988). Hence, the need for some understanding and responsible adults at the background who would serve as role models for the youngsters to re-direct their energies towards the right channel that would produce rewarding and satisfactory patter of behaviour in them.

1.3Statement of the Problem

There is a general poor academic orientation among students these days. The society is angered by the poor performance in West African Senior School Certificate (WASSC) and NECO in 2009 and 2010 sessions respectively. Reasons for this trend has engaged scholars and researchers in different fora. One of the reasons for the recorded poor academic achievement of students at the senior secondary school level, is the deviant behaviour of students. For instance, many adolescents engage themselves in truancy; absenteeism; drug abuse, disregard and disrespect to the constituted authorities of the home and school; terrorism and unwanted violent demonstrations in which valuable school and government properties are brazenly destroyed. These negative and unwarranted attitudes by some students have caused most of them to stay away from the school for a period of time. Even, some of the students have dropped out of the school completely due to deviant behaviour, and the resultant effect is low performance in their education.

The above problems gave rise to the investigation into the influence of proneness to deviant behaviours on academic orientation among undergraduate students in Lagos metropolis.

1.4Purpose of the Study

The followings are the specific objectives of the study:

1.            To find out whether the ethnic background of students influences their behaviour at school.

2.            To evaluate whether religious background of students influences their deviant behaviours.

3.            To assess whether the socio-economic status of students affect their behaviours in the school.

4.            To ascertain the impact of deviant behaviours on students academic performance.

1.5Research Questions

The following research questions were asked in this study:

1.            Does ethnic background influence students’ behaviours at school?

2.            Does religious background influence students’ attitudes at school?

3.            To what extent do students’ socio-economic status affect their overall behaviours in the tertiary institutions?

4.            To what extent does deviant behaviour impact on students’ academic performance.

1.6Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses stated in the null terms are developed to guide the study:

1.            There is no significant influence of ethnicity on the behaviour of students at University of Lagos.

2.            There is no significant influence of religion on students’ attitude at University of Lagos.

3.            There is no significant impact of socio-economic status on students academic performance at school.

4.            Students’ deviant behaviour will not significantly impact on their learning activities at school.

1.7Significance of the Study

This study will focus on the beneficial of the following individuals:

(1)         The Students: The findings and recommendations of this study will be of great benefit to the students who would be enlightened concerning the character they should put across in the society. This study will also afford the students, the opportunity to know the effects of deviant behaviours. This study will also lead them to avoid those behaviours labelled as deviant in the society. With the recommendations of the study, students would be able to identify the attributes of deviants. This study will also assist students at all levels to stop the use of cell phones and watching of blue films in the classroom when lesson is going on. The reason being that it makes students to loose concentration in the class thereby affecting learning.

(2)         Teachers: Would be beneficiaries of this study, because, the study will afford them the golden opportunity of knowing how to detect students who exhibit deviant behaviour and how to tackle them or remedy them. With the findings and recommendations of this study, teachers would be able to know those activities that would enable them to remedy the bad behaviour of the students who are under their care.

(3)         The School Authorities: With the recommendations of this study, the school authorities would be able to solve the problem of deviation of students or adolescents in our tertiary institutions. This study also, will recommend to the school authorities all it takes to arrest the dwindling or negative behaviours of students in our schools and the society at large. Though some school do not allow the use of cell phones and other P3 equipment in schools, but some students smuggled them into the classroom and used them to disturb learning in the classroom. Schools should be more restricted and punished any child found in the classroom with any of this equipment that can distract attention in the classroom while the lesson is going on.

(4)         Government: Government would be opportuned to gather information concerning adolescents’ deviation in the society. It will be of great help to the government, if this study is completed. This is because, it will afford the government the opportunity to know how to go about solving the society’s problems which is mostly on youths.

(5)         The Parents: Parents would also benefit from this study because, it will enable them to be able to know the characters of their children and wards and how to go about solving the perceived problems. No doubt, deviant behaviour of the youths has been one of the major problems of the society, and government is interested in solving the problems of youth restiveness in the society. Therefore, government will collaborate with parents and teachers to solve this problem of deviance amongst the youths in our schools and homes. They should observe their children and wards on the use of cell phones especially in the schools because of its negative effect on learning.

(6)         Not only that, the society will be able to benefit from this study, because it will help it to know or identify the problems of deviation amongst the youths and how to help in solving it.

1.8Scope of the Study

This study examines the impact of deviant behaviours among students in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State.

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