This study investigated the influence of parenting style and Gender as predictors of disposition towards antisocial behavior two hundred (200) SS1 students of Secondary Schools in Enugu (Trans-Ekulu Girls‟ Secondary School, Enugu, Federal Government College, Enugu, New-Haven Boys‟ Secondary School, Enugu) participated in the study. Participants were within the age range of 13 and 18 years with a mean age of 15.5 using ANOVA. The results of ANOVA showed non-significant main effects of parenting styles on antisocial behavior between participants from permissive, authoritarian and authoritative parents: f (1,194) = 1.048, p .05. The result further showed non-significant main effect of gender on anti – social behavior between males and females: f (1,194) = 0.448, P .05. There is also no significant interaction between parenting styles and gender on the prediction of anti-social behavior in adolescents: f (1.194) – 0.991, .05. The results were discussed in terms of their implications in anti-social behavior and suggestions were made for further studies.
Antisocial behavior is ubiquitous. It is the degree that differs across cultures and societies. It is the recognized violation of cultural norms. Norms guide virtually all human activities, so the concept of antisocial behavior is quite broad, (Macionis, 2000). It spans a wide range from minor traffic violation to serious offences, such as rape and murder.
Over the years, antisocial behavior seems to have assumed gargantuan dimensions. The very existence of some categories of people can be troublesome to others. Most familiar examples of non-conformity are negative cases of rule breaking such as stealing from a convenience store, or driving while intoxicated. What all antisocial behaviors have in common is some elements of indifference that cause one to regard another as outsiders (Beker, 1966).
Antisocial behavior include, but are not limited to the following: armed robbery, theft, rape, cultism, corruption, examination malpractice, malpractice in banks, advance fee fraud, money laundering, lying, sexual promiscuity, assault and cruelty to others, physical and verbal abuse. No nation, no matter how developed is immune to the menace of antisocial behavior. In fact, some of the countries most vulnerable to or have more sophisticated types of antisocial behavior are the developed countries. Nigeria like many other countries is equally affected by this phenomenon. In time past, Nigeria was known the world over for its sunshine glamour. It was most talked about, as kings and queens did not live better than Nigerians. The country had enough resources in her treasury to prosecute ambitious socio-economic developments and sustain our collective dreams as a nation. But all these were not to be as the national economy has taken a plunge, unemployment is a staggering reality, armed robbery and crime wave across the country is a clear manifestation of the depth of moral decay (Braithwaith, 1988).
My observation during my internship training brought the prevalence of antisocial behavior to the fore. I had my internship at the Trans-Ekulu Girls‟ Secondary School, Enugu. A great number of the students are involved in behaviors that are viewed as antisocial. Breaking school rules, fighting, truancy, missing classes, stealing, verbal abuse of both teachers and fellow students, secret cultism and gangsterism are some of the practices that are common place in the school and among the students. The incidence of adolescents in the Junior Secondary School, beating up their teachers and destroying school properties at the end of their Junior Secondary School Examination, getting more and more involved in sexual relationships at such young age, undermining the authorities of their parents or guardian beats my imagination. One begins to wonder if there is any difference between these students and other students elsewhere. Are there situational and environmental factors that cause this antisocial behavior? Why would a student leave her home for school but prefer to stay outside the classroom? Is there something common in the lives of these students who involve in this kind of behavior? What is the place of their parents in all these? Don‟t the parents check their school work? How do they relate to their parents? Why would young girls be involved in such behavior when it is mainly boys that are believed to have such inclination? All these questions precipitated this study.
The solution to the problem of antisocial behavior and other social problems in Nigeria have been sought in so many ways such as constitutional amendment, national orientation programmes, redesigning of the school curriculum and programme etc. but the researcher felt that the answer may lie in another field – parenting styles, since the behavior of individuals stem from orientation (Bandura, 1986).
What then is parenting style? Parenting style can be very simply defined as how a person parents (Horner, 2000), which includes the mode of interaction between the person (as father or mother or guardian) and his/her children. There are four distinct parenting styles: authoritarian, permissive, authoritative and neglectful parenting styles (Baumrind, 1991). These four parenting styles are determined by what emphasis a parent puts on responsiveness (amount of warmth and attention the parent gives to the child) and demandingness (how much control the parent places on the child‟s behavior). (Baumrind, 1991)
According to (Baumrind, 1991), authoritarian parents have high demandingness but low responsiveness. These parents are very demanding, uncompromising, and physical. They set strict rules, and expect complete obedience from their children. Permissive Parents have high responsiveness but low demandingness. These parents want their children to be creative and to explore the world to such an extent that they never place any kind of limits on their children. Authoritative parents have both high demandingness and high responsiveness. These parents set high goals for their children, and give large amounts of emotional support. They set limits for their children, but provide explanations as to why they should do so. For the neglectful parents, they have both low demandingness and low responsiveness. These parents are uninvolved and uninterested in their children. They set no limits for their children, and offer no support (Baumrind, 1991). Cole & Cole (1989) opined that adolescents with authoritative parents tend to be withdrawn, moody, obedient, fearful of new situations and have low self esteem. They also have trouble socializing with others. He also stated that adolescents with permissive parents tend to be more creative, but are behaviorally and verbally impulsive, aggressive and have trouble dealing with school imposed limits. They also believe that their parents do not care about them or how they behave. Adolescents with authoritative parents are likely to foster a positive development. They have high self esteem, are socially confident, inquisitive, self-assured and self-reliant, they also have high respect for their parents, (Cole & cloe 1989). Adolescents with neglectful parents are in the most danger of engaging in antisocial behavior. Drug and alcohol use is extremely high in adolescents who were raised by neglectful parents, (Baumrind, 1991).
Numerous studies have been concluded examining the relationship between parental variables and adolescents antisocial behaviours. Barber, Stolz, Osten and Maughan (2003) found that parental psychological control has a positive relationship with adolescent antisocial behavior and that parental behavior control has a negative relationship with adolescent antisocial behaviour (See also Gillet, 2006). Psychological control means the social support which the child receives from the parents. It includes maternal or paternal protection, over-pampering and most times, allowing the child to have his or her way in issues even when the parents does not share the view of the young person. Behavioral control on the other hand means the parents can criticize, punish, scold or in some cases flog the child to get him to comply.
Investigating the dimensions of parenting both as separate variables and in the aggregated form as parenting styles, highlights their consistent association with greater academic and social achievement and fewer problem behaviors in children and adolescents (Barber, Olsen & Shagle, 1994). Unfortunately, their relationship is still some what unclear due to the fact that gender variables have not deeply been considered.
Certainly, gender is the additional variable that will be considered in this study because of its strong ties to empathy and prosocial versus antisocial behavior in the literature. Thus, it has been repeatedly found that females score higher than males on measures of empathy (Krevans & Gibbs, 1996; Lopez, Bonenberger & Schneider, 2001) and lower on levels of antisocial behavior (Calvo, Gonzalez & Martorell, 2001). The question is therefore, what is the contribution of gender identity in antisocial behavior when parenting styles are taken into consideration?
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Hall (1904) viewed adolescence as a period of storm and stress. “Adolescence is a new birth”, he wrote … “the qualities of body and soul that now emerge are far newer. Development is less gradual and more salutary, suggestive of some ancient period of storm and stress when old moorings were broken and a higher level attained” (p.xiii). the new birth leads the adolescent to want to get away, to conquer new territory. At this point also adult laws and behaviors are questioned and criticized, strict family rules are defiled, and child-parent disputes are at increase. Baumrind (1978); Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg and Dornbusch (1991) found that different parenting styles are associated with different outcomes in children‟s behavior. Children of authoritarian parents tend to be less trusting and contented, and more withdrawn, than other children. Children of permissive parents tend to show the least of self-control and are also self-reliant and exploratory. The best behavioural outcomes are associated with authoritative parenting. These children are more often self-reliant, self controlled and with higher self-esteem (Buri, 1989).
Barber, Stolz, Olsen, & Maughan (2003), related an aspect of parenting to antisocial behavior. Numerous other studies (e.g. Carlo, Roesch & Melby, 1998) have related parenting with antisocial behavior. Yet the sources of antisocial behaviors seem unrevealed. It is the contention of this study that part of the answer lies in gender identity
- Will parenting style significantly predict the development of antisocial behavior in adolescent?
- Will gender significantly predict disposition to antisocial behavior in adolescents?
PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this study is to find out whether parenting styles and gender could predict adolescents disposition to antisocial behavior.
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Parenting Styles: This refers to the score of a participant in the parental authority questionnaire (i.e., the subscale that has the highest score will be regarded as an individual‟s parenting style).
Gender: This refers to male or female Senior Secondary 1 student.
Antisocial Behavior: This is the score of a participant as measured by the antisocial behavior disposition scale developed by the researcher.
Adolescents: This refers to young people within the age range of 13 and 18 years who can read and write in the schools sampled