Gender differences in index and non-index delinquent behaviour among secondary school students in Kiambu district, Kenya
Ndung'u, Agnes Wanjiru
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The aim of this study was to find out the effect of gender on students' delinquent behavior. Delinquency poses a serious problem to all regions of the world and much effort has been geared towards establishing a solution to this global problem. Research reveals a significant increase in the number of delinquent acts committed by juveniles. There is tremendous agreement among scientists that delinquent acts are more common during adolescence. Most self-report surveys on delinquency indicate that the number of youths who commit delinquent acts is much greater than official statistics reveal. Further research also reveals that delinquency is not restricted to adolescents in correctional institutions but also exists in the regular schools. Self-report data also seem to show that the incidence of female delinquency is much higher than believed earlier and that the most common crimes committed by males are also the ones female offenders commit. However, female delinquency has been ignored, trivialized or denied, a tendency that may help female delinquency thrive to a serious problem unnoticed. The objectives of this study were to find out whether there are gender differences in students' index delinquent acts against persons, whether there are gender differences in students' index delinquent acts against property and whether there are gender differences in students' non-index delinquent acts. The study was conducted in the secondary schools of Kiambu district. The research design was ex-post facto which was an attempt to establish to what extent two non-manipulated variables are related. The sainple was drawn from six out of the nineteen schools in the region. The schools were selected through stratified random sampling. Two hundred and forty students (120 boys and 120 girls) were selected through simple random sampling to participate in the study. The sample was drawn from form two and three students. A self-report delinquency questionnaire was used for data collection. The hypotheses were tested using t-tests and a 0.05 level of significance used as a standard of either rejecting or accepting the null hypotheses. The findings of this study revealed significant gender differences in students' index delinquent acts against persons, significant gender differences in students' index delinquent acts against persons and property. No significant gender differences in students' non-index delinquent acts were found. Recommendations were made to parents to monitor adolescent behavior, guide, train and mentor children on socially acceptable ways of behavior. Teachers should define appropriate intervention and prevention strategies on delinquent behavior. Findings of this study may guide the Ministry of Education on the need of a policy on delinquent behavior among secondary school students. The teacher training institutions should equip the teachers with the necessary skills to help them deal with delinquency among students. Curriculum developers may draw a curriculum on delinquency. In conclusion, it was noted that there is need for all the stakeholders to join hands in the fight against delinquency among students of both gender because it is a reality. Recommendations for further research were also made. The study may be replicated in other districts, longitudinal studies could be carried out to follow up on adolescents who indulge in delinquent behavior into their adulthood to establish whether they graduate into criminal activities, the trend of female delinquency should be established and fuller settings such as families and schools and the impact of the variations in those settings should be established.