Relationship between Parental Conflict and Social Adjustment of Adolescent Students in Seconday Schools in Murang’a County, Kenya
Muriithi, Joel Kiambi
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Parental conflict is a prevalent problem that threatens the social adjustment of adolescence children both in developed and developing nations. Despite evidence of parental conflicts in Kenyan families, there is scarce literature on the relationship of parental conflict and social adjustment of adolescence. This study sought to establish the frequency of parental conflict in families of students in secondary schools in Murang‘a County; To find out the types of parental conflicts in families of students in secondary schools in Murang‘a County; To assess the level of social adjustment of students in secondary schools in Murang‘a County; To examine the relationship between parental conflict and social adjustment of adolescent children in secondary schools in Murang‘a County; and To find out if there is any gender differences in social adjustments of students in secondary schools in Murang‘a County. The study was guided by attachment and interpersonal theories.This study employed a descriptive survey design with a quantitative approach. The study target population was 108,774 secondary school students in Murang‘a County. A Stratified random sampling was applied to draw a sample size of 400 students. Standardized instruments were used to collect data from the students. The Social Adjustment Scale developed by Reda Norton was used to measure social adjustment among the students while frequency of parental conflict and type of parental conflict was assessed using the Children's Perception of Inter parental Conflict Scale (CPIC). Data collected was coded and processed using the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21. Quantitative data collected was analyzed to generate descriptive statistics including frequencies, percentages and mean. Correlations between parental conflicts and social adjustment of adolescence were established using Pearson‘s Product Moment Correlation Coefficients. The study showed that 55.8% reported low frequency of parental conflicts while 24.8% reported high frequency. On type of parental conflicts, the students reported perceiving both constructive and destructive parental conflicts with majority perceiving constructive conflicts. On social adjustment the students were predominantly pro social with 62.3% rating themselves high on pro social, 74.3% rated themselves low in offensive interpersonal behaviours and 74.8%rated themselves low in delinquency behaviours. The study revealed that there was a positive and significant relationship between type of parental conflicts perceived and social adjustment of the students. The Pearson (r) correlation coefficient between parental conflicts and both offensive and delinquent behaviours were positive and significant at (r(257) = 0.241, P< 0.05) and (r(260) = 0.171, P< 0.05) respectively. However, the relationship between parental conflicts and pro social was negative but not significant. The study also revealed gender difference in social adjustment of the students. A t test result of the students social adjustment mean scores showed that there was gender differences in delinquent behaviors at and (t= 3.384, df = 319, P< 0.05) respectively. Thus more males than females were more likely to show delinquent behaviours in response to experienced parental conflicts. However, no difference was found in respect to pro social behaviours and offensive interpersonal behaviours. The findings of the student were in support of both attachment and interpersonal theories. The study recommended that schools strengthen counseling department to help students with social adjustment challenges. The study also recommended premarital education and counseling, couples counseling and community awareness creation on the harm of destructive parental conflicts to their entire family.