Single Motherhood and Anti-Social Behaviour Outcome in Children

Friday, July 18, 2014: 11:45 AM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Favour C. NTOIMO , Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria
Babatunde GBADEBO , University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
Family disruption through divorce and separation is increasingly becoming a common phenomenon in many sub-Saharan African countries. A few studies have documented the trend, patterns, determinants and effects, yet, much of the effect on children has not been as well documented as in the more developed countries. In particular, the effect of family disruption on children's involvement in anti-social behaviour has remained largely speculative. This study aimed to contribute to literature on the relationship between single motherhood and children outcome in sub-Saharan Africa using data obtained from Nigeria. Although official census record shows that crude divorce rate in Nigeria was 5.5 per 1000 population and 13.4 for ever married persons in 2006, there are indications from the media and public opinion that the incidence of marital disruption through separation and divorce in the country is higher. This paper utilized a survey of 249 randomly selected inmates of prisons in Osun State, Nigeria to examine the effect of single motherhood on children's involvement in anti-social behaviour. The major research question was: are children of single mothers more likely to be involved in crime than children in intact homes? The mean age of the respondents was 29 years (sd = 7.8). Of the 237 inmates who responded to the question on mother's marital status, 60% had mothers currently in a union, 18% were from homes disrupted by divorce or separation and 22% had mothers who were widows. Preliminary analysis showed that mother's marital status was significantly related to involvement in any type of crime and the odds of being involved in stealing or armed robbery, violence-related offences and other forms of crime was higher for inmates whose mothers were divorced or separated than for those whose mothers were currently married or widowed. Increasing education and high-wage opportunities for women is recommended.