Relationship Between Perceived Parental Nurturance and Problem Behaviours among Secondary School Students in Selected Counties in Kenya.
Despite the heavy investment in education that the Kenyan Government makes each year, problem behaviours amongst adolescent students continue to affect the goals of effective training and skill building among many young Kenyans and thus undermining efforts at poverty alleviation and wealth creation in the country. This is because problem behaviours lead to lost class and study time as students spend much time and energy completing punishments and suspensions as opposed to learning. Behaviour problems sometimes also lead to expulsion from school. Attempts at reducing problem behaviours have included setting up committees and task forces to investigate their causes and make recommendations on the same. Studies on behaviour problems among adolescents especially in Kenya have focused mainly on the influence of parental affection on adolescent behaviour, adolescent-parent relationships, parental controls, and parenting styles. However, there was a general absence of data on the role of parental nurturance in the behaviour of adolescents. To fill this gap in knowledge, the current study sought to investigate the relationship between perceived parental nurturance and problem behaviours amongst the adolescent students in selected counties in Kenya. A correlational research design was used to test the hypothesis that perceived parental nurturance is significantly related to problem behaviour among adolescent students. Proportionate stratified sampling was used to obtain a sample of 714 students in five counties (in two former provinces) in Kenya. Problem Behaviour was assessed using a self-rating Problem Behaviour Scale. Parental Nurturance was assessed using and the Parental Nurturance Scale developed by Buri, Kirchner and Walsh (1987). The findings revealed high perceived parental nurturance scores for both male and female students as well as low occurrence of problem behaviours. The study also found that widowed fathers were perceived as the most nurturing parents. The study also found that there was a higher occurrence of internalizing problem behaviours compared to externalizing problem behaviours. Spearman Rank Correlation was used to test the relationship between perceived parental nurturance and problem behaviour while one way ANOVA and t-test were used to test for differences across demographic variables in parental nurturance and problem behaviour. The findings revealed that there were no significant differences in perceived parental nurturance with regard to sex and provinces. There were significant differences however, across marital status. The findings also revealed no significant differences in problem behaviour between the provinces, parental level of education and parental marital status. The study found a significant negatively correlated relationship between perceived parental nurturance and problem behaviour among the adolescent students. Based on the findings, it was suggested that in developing policies for school management, the possible influence of parents on the behaviour of adolescent students be given more serious consideration. It was also suggested that when addressing problem behaviour issues in schools, educators should pay more attention to the relationship between perceived parental nurturance and problem behaviour. This is to avoid focusing on correcting problem behaviours without considering the possible influence of parental dynamics.