This study evaluates the relationship between self-concept and students’ choice of chemistry in senior secondary schools. The sample size consists of 94 (33 males and 61 female) students randomly selected from senior secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Three research questions guided the study and three hypotheses were tested to achieve the objective of the study. The Pearson product moment correlation analysis was used to test the relationship between self-concept variables and students’ choice variables. Self-concept was considered under two components, negative and positive self-concept. It was found that at 0.1 level of significance negative self-concept has a weak negative relationship and influence on students’ choice of chemistry, while positive self-concept has a strong positive relationship and influence on students’ choice of chemistry. It was also found that positive self-concept positively correlate with students’ satisfaction with their choice of chemistry. The study thus recommends that efforts should be directed towards encouraging attributes to promote students choice of chemistry in senior secondary schools.


Title page 

Declaration - - - - - - - - i

Approval Page - - - - - - - ii

Dedication - - - - - - - - iii


Abstract - - - - - - - - v

Table of Contents - - - - - - vi

List of Tables - - - - - - - ix 


1.0 Introduction - - - - - - 1

1.1 Statement of Research Problem - - - 5

1.2 Purpose of the Study - - - - - 7

1.3. Research Question - - - - - 8

1.4. Hypothesis - - - - - - - 8

1.5Scope of the Study -----9

1.6 Significance of the Study - - - - 9


2.0 Review of Related Literature - - - - 11

2.1 Conceptual Framework - - - - 11

2.2 Theoretical Framework - - - - 16

2.3 Empirical Framework - - - - - 18

2.4Summary of Literature Review---18


3.0Research Method-----19

3.1 Research Design - - - - - - 19

3.2 Area of the Study - - - - - 19

3.3 Population and Sample Size of the Study - 20

3.4 Sample and Sampling Techniques - - - 20

3.5 Instrument - - - - - - - 21

3.6 Validity of the Instrument - - - - 21`

3.7 Reliability of the Instrument  - - - - 21

3.8 Methods of Data Analysis - - - - 22

­­3.9 Scoring of the Instrument - - - - 22


4.0 Results, Analysis And Discussion - - - 23

4.1 Distribution of Respondents based on Sex and Age- 23

4.2 Research Question 1 - - - - - 24

4.3 Research Question 2 - - - - - 26

4.4 Research Question 3 - - - - - 27

4.5 Hypothesis 1 - - - - - - 29

4.6 Hypothesis 2 - - - - - - 31

4.7 Hypothesis 2 - - - - - - 32

4.8 Discussion of Findings - - - - - 33


5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations - 37

5.1 Summary of the Study - - - - - 37

5.2 Limitations of the Study - - - - 39

5.3 Conclusion - - - - - - 39

5.4 Recommendations - - - - - 40

5.5 Suggestions for Further Studies - - - 41





Self concept is an important term commonly used in social psychology and humanism. According to McLeod (2008), to be aware of one’s self is to have a concept of oneself. Baumeister (1999), defined self concept as the individual’s belief about himself or herself, including the person’s attributes and who and what the self is. On the whole, self concept describes how an individual thinks of himself or herself, what influences individual’s behaviour, choices and life role.

Development of a concept of self involves aspects such as existential self and categorical self (Lewis, 1990). According to Bee (1992), the existential self involves the sense of being separate and distinct from others and the awareness of the constancy of self. This defines the state at which an individual, for instance a child realises that he or she exist as a separate entity from others and that they continue to exist over time and space (Lewis, 1990).

On the other hand, the categorical self describes the state where the individual having realised ones existence as a separate self, then becomes aware that he/she is also an object in the world which can be experience and has properties and potentials.

Self concept thus influences one’s performance, choice and self-confidence. This gives the individual the confidence to either believe in one’s self, believing in one’s choice or low self esteem, believing in people’s suggestions than one’s choice. Rogers (1959), described the components of self concept to include self image, self esteem or self worth and ideal self. Self image describes the view you have of yourself, self esteem or self worth represents how much value you place on yourself, and ideal self describes what you wish you were really like. Self esteem and self worth thus describes the extent to which an individual like, accept or approve one’s self. This thus reflects how an individual values his choices, personality and actions.

Kramer (2013), opined that the self as a psychological construct has a long occupied a preeminent place in both psychological and management theories regarding human behaviour and the most widely studies concept in Social Science.

Self-concept is thus a primary locus of human motivation and agency as well as judgement and decision making (Kramer, 2013). Self-concept thus influences individual’s sense of choice, action and performance. This definition also provides another important definition of self-concept that relates individual action or roles or choice as a function of self-concept.

According to Kinch (1963), self-concept is that organization of ‘qualities’ that the individual attributes to himself, where ‘quantities’ include both attributes that the individual might express in terms of adjectives (ambitious, intelligent) and also the roles he sees himself as in father, doctor. There is thus a correlation between self-concept and students’ performance, choices and achievement. Ghazvini (2011), recorded that a close relationship between self concept and measures of academic performance. Acosta (2001), reported a relation between self and academic achievement. The general theory connotes the basic notion that the individual conception of himself emerges from social interaction and in turn guides or influences the behaviour of that individual (Kinch, 1963). According to Mach & Shavelson (1985), there are basically two components or levels that constitute self-concept, these include; self-acceptance and social confidence. Self-acceptance defines the acknowledgement of one’s’ own limitations and strength, which is important for self-esteem and wellbeing (Major, 2000), while social confidence describes the quality which enables an individual to remain true for one’s self while interacting with individuals or group of people. Social confidence thus depicts the certainty and power to make a choice, create one’s desired dreams learn easily, think realistically, choose one’s interest and master the social world independently of others influence (Culler & Holaham, 1980). In other words, social confidence correlates the ability to remain focus in the pursuit of one’s set goal (Mayer, 1967). To achieve the main purpose of this study, the study will focus on social confidence as an aspect of self-concept. Social confidence embodies having to believe in one’s choice, perception, confidence and determination.

In view of the background of this study, self-concept forms the basis of reference to which students’ choice of Chemistry is expected to be influenced. This study focused on the relationship between self-concept and students choice of Chemistry. The study is expected to identify other factors that influence students’ choice of chemistry, such as peers’ influence and parental pressure. The study will also determine the relationship between self-concept and students’ choice of chemistry. The result of the study will be useful in assessing the factors affecting students’ choice of subjects in Secondary schools, most especially with regards to the influence of self-concept, social affiliation and parental pressure.

1.1 Statement of Research Problem

The general idea of going to school comprises the aim to learn how to read and write. Education also plays an important role in the choice of a career or profession. Thus, the choice an individual makes as a student with regards to subjects or courses obviously tends to define, though not definitely always, the direction of one’s career or profession. 

By popular opinion, the secondary school seems to be the starting point of these career-focused choices by students, thus students are expected to make choices based on their career ambitions. Nevertheless, it is obvious that besides students’ self-concept indices such as self determination, self-esteem, social confidence, which reflects in students’ desired future career ambition, various other factors most often play significant roles in influencing their choices. Among such factors are most commonly social indices including the influence of friends, and parental pressure? In view of this assertion, this study is designed to consider the determinants of students’ choice of subjects in secondary school. 

In addition, there is generally a declining trend in the number of secondary school students offering sciences including Chemistry, as a probable future career pursuit. This is evident in the growing public concern about the declining trend of science teachers in the secondary schools. This is obviously a reflection of the fact that perhaps fewer students offering Chemistry as a subject in the secondary school. There are thus many factors that influence students’ choice of chemistry as a subject in the secondary school, to which this study is designed to assess. Among most identified factors influencing students’ decisions and achievements in secondary schools include primarily the self-concept, study environment, social indices and parental influence (Mboho, 2014). The study is thus, aims to examine mainly the influence of self-concept on students’ choice of chemistry in secondary schools. 

1.2 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to determine whether students’ self-concept has an influence on their choice of Chemistry in secondary schools. The study seeks to establish the relationship between self-concept and students’ choice of chemistry in secondary schools.

The specific objective of the study is to determine the relationship between self-concept and student’s choice of Chemistry.

1.3. Research Question 

The following research questions guided the study:

1. Does negative self-concept influence students’ choice of chemistry in Senior Secondary School?

2. Does positive self-concept influence students’ choice of chemistry in Senior Secondary School?

3. Does self-concept affect students’ satisfaction with choice of chemistry in senior secondary schools? 

1.4. Hypothesis

The following hypothesis were formulated for this study

1. There is no significant relationship between negative self-concept and students’ choice of chemistry in senior secondary school.

2. There is no significant relationship between positive self-concept and students’ choice of chemistry in senior secondary school.

3. There is no significant relationship between self-concept and students’ choice of chemistry in senior secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area.

1.5 Scope of the study

The study will focus strictly on secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Only students offering chemistry as a subject will be selected to participate in the study. The study will examine the influence of self-concept on students’ choice of chemistry in secondary schools.

1.6 Significance of the study

This study is designed to examine the relationship between self-concept and students’ choice of chemistry in secondary schools. It is expected that findings of the study will be useful to students, teachers, parents, career counsellors, school administrators and researchers. The study will be more useful to researchers particularly interested in studying factors influencing students’ choice of courses/subjects in schools. The study will also be useful to career advisors, school counsellors and parents as a guide while assisting students on the course selection. Above all, the study will be useful for further research on related subject matter and will remain a useful literary resource and reference material for researchers, students and the general public.



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