This study examined the influence of family background on the self-concept of secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area. Four research questions and four null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The study was delimited to senior secondary two students in public secondary schools in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area. The survey research design was used for the study. The population of the study was 2,592 senior secondary school two students (SS 2) in all the public secondary school in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. A stratified random sampling technique was used in selecting 10 schools and a sample size of 250 senior secondary schools two students were selected. The instrument titled ‘’Family Background and Self-Concept Questionnaire (FBSCQ)’’ was developed by the researcher and validated by three experts, one from the Institute of Education and two from the Department of Educational Foundations Guidance and Counselling, Faculty of Education, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Cronbach Alpha reliability method was used to compute the reliability of the research instrument which yielded a co-efficient of 0.79 after the instrument was administered to 50 students who did not take part in the study. The data collected from FBSCQ were analysed using mean and Standard Deviation for the research questions, while One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and independent t-test were used for testing the null hypotheses depending on the variables investigated. All the null hypotheses were tested at .05 Alpha level of significance. The findings indicated that family background variables such as family size, family type and parents’ educational level does not have any significant influence on students’ self-concept, while family social class has a significant influence on students’ self-concept. Based on the findings, it was recommended among others, that parents should ameliorate their social class in order to meet up with students’ need in school in order to enhance the development of positive self-concept.



Cover page i

Title page ii

Declaration iii

Certification    iv

Dedication  v

Acknowledgements  vi

Abstract  vii

Table of Contents viii 

List of Tables  xi

List of Appendices  xii


1.1 Background of the Study      1                      

1.2 Statement of the Problem            4            

1.3 Purpose of the Study    5          

1.4 Significance of the Study 6                            

1.5 Research Questions 7

1.6 Research Hypotheses 7

1. 7 Delimitation of the Study 7

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms 8


2.1 Theoretical Framework 10

2.1.1 Parental Attachment Theory 10

2.1.2 Good Parenting Theory 12

2.1.3 The Glass Theory 13

2.2 Conceptual Review15

2.2.1 The Development of Students’ Self-Concept 15

2.2.2 Family Size and Students’ Self-Concept 20

2.2.3 Family Type and Students’ Self- Concept 22

2.2.4 Family Social Class and Students’ Self-Concept 28

2.2.5 Parents’ Educational Level and Students’ Self-Concept 30

2.3    Empirical Review of Related Literature32

2.4     Summary of Reviewed Literature 35


3.1   Design of the Study 38

3.2   Area of the Study 38 

3.3    Population of the Study 40

3.4    Sample and Sampling Technique 40

3.5    Instrumentation 40

3.5.1. Validation of the Instrument 41

3.5.2 Reliability of the Instrument 41

3.6    Method of Data Collection  41

3. 7   Method of Data Analysis 42

3.8    Decision Rule 42

3.9    Ethical Issues 42


4.1 Data Analysis and Results 44

4.2 Findings52

4.3 Discussion of Findings 52


5.1 Summary 57

5.2 Conclusion 58

5.3 Educational Implications of Finding 59

5.4 Contribution to Knowledge 59

5.5 Recommendations 60

5.6 Suggestions for Further Findings   60





1.1 Background of the Study

Family is generally acknowledged as the smallest unit in society. In Nigeria, it consist of a man, his wife, children and other immediate relations (the extended as different from the nuclear family). The family is relevant and very significant to the well-being of a child as well as his/her later development in life. It is the first unit in the social order where the child’s upbringing began after birth. According to Adewumi (2012), childhood could be likened to letters impressed in the shout of a young tree, which grows, and later enlarge into an integral part of the whole. In regard to this, rightful beginning makes the most essential part of every child’s upbringing and perception. The family is an institution as well as an agent of socialization saddled with the responsibility of determining the students’ attitude towards intellectual, religious, character and moral upbringing. According to Aliyu (2016), the family lays the fundamentals of moral and religious upbringing of the child, and in a way dictate how he/she relate with others regarding the idea of right and wrong , good and bad. 

      The family here includes everything that surrounds within the family itself and includes the family background such as the size and type of the family, parents’ educational level, social class, etc. Family background could be likened to all the conditions and circumstances within the family which influences the child physically, intellectually and emotionally as he/she grows up. The Child that grew up from different family backgrounds are affected differently by such family condition, which are the reasons behind why some children have good family background while others have a very poor background. The differences in family backgrounds are some of the consequences in the variation of students’ self-concepts as greater parental (family background) involvement in students’ activities positively affects the students’ self-concept. 

Family background which refers to circumstance and past events that help the child develops has been of great importance in shaping the self-concept of students worldwide. This is because positive or negative self-concept is usually as a result of family background variables affecting children’s beliefs and opinions which are based on their sensitivity and self-awareness about their strengths, weaknesses and perceptions. 

    Self-concept, also called self construction, self-identity or self perspective is a multi-dimensional construct that refers to an individual’s perception of self in relation to any number of characteristics (Bong, 2009). With Bong’s illustration, it is an internal model which comprises self-assessment. Self-concept can also be referred to as self-evaluation or perception, and represents the sum total of an individual’s beliefs about his or her attributes. Baldwin and Hoffman, (2002) perceive it as a variable with which an individual evaluates himself or herself in domains in which he or she considers important and it is influenced positively or negatively by an individual’ age, gender, educational discipline/level and socio-economic status.  

Self-concept is a multi-dimensional construct that refers to an individual’s perception of self in relation to any number of characteristics. It is a person’s perception or view of self which is formed through experiences gained in the environment from reinforcements and significant others. It simply refers to how one thinks about oneself. 

An individual’s self-concept may be either positive or negative. A positive self-concept in an individual is expressed in the development of interest to school, having many friends, putting one up before others, accepting compliments, always happy, and humorous, always trying new things and non-jealous (Berger, 2008). On the contrary, several signs which indicate that an individual has a negative self-concept include: poor attitude towards school activities, having few friends, putting down oneself, rejecting compliments, teasing others, showing excessive amount of anger, being excessively jealous, appearing conceited and hesitating to try new things (Berger, 2008). 

It is also observed that self-concept has three different components; the view of one’s self (self-image), how much value one places on one-self (self-esteem or self-worth) and what one wishes he/she is really like (ideal-self). It is a well-known fact that the closer one is to the ideal-self, the happier one will be and also a person’s happiness is unconditional positive regard from others. This unconditional positive regards often occurs in close or familiar relationships; that is, relationship with family members. Adeniyi (2010), noted that the amount of time one spends with another individual is one of the main determinant of how significant that individual is in one’s life and how much influence his attitude, values and behavior will have on the individuals behavior. 

      A child’s family size and type are also linked to positive self-concept.  A type of family to some extent determines the level of attention and time which a student’s gets from their parents. Financial challenges are associated with family with larger size and type in the sense that as family’s increases, parents sometimes find it difficult to give their children the same level of attention compare to when the family size was manageable. In a situation where family sizes are large, some parent find it difficult to provide the necessary things needed by the students to succeed in life and this tend to affect their entire perception.  

    Similarly, social class which is the relative position of a family in a society on hierarchical social structure based on access to or control over wealth, prestige, and power that are categorized into levels such as high, middle and low may also influence self-conceptions as students from families belonging to low social class may likely face more challenges leading to frustration, sense of helplessness which in turn impacts on self-concept. 

    The issue of family background and its relationship to students’ self-concept can also be explored specifically on the level of parental education as the level of education of parents may also influence self-concept. Singh (1996) asserted that the education of parents can help the children to develop proper personality characteristics and equip them better to adjust socially, and academically. Based on behavior pattern of educated and uneducated parents, the author concluded that high degree of literacy leads to more positive and healthy pattern of behavior. 

    It is a common observation that a harmonious and properly oriented family background setting contributes to the positive self-concept of a child and on the other hand, a disorganized family background produces a negative self-concept and research conducted on this area has methodological gaps on family background variables such as family size, family type, family social class and parents’ educational level which is what the study sought to fill. Hence, this prompted a research to examine the influence of family background on self-concept of secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. 

1.1 Statement of the Problem

Secondary school students face a lot of problems emanating from poor family background as a result of their self-concept as students with low self-concept deals with challenges of isolation from their peers, teachers and even parents. This problem poses a great danger on students’ academic performance and activities in and out of their respective schools. Poor housing and over-crowded home conditions in Ibiono Ibom may affect student’s cognitive ability (self-concept) and total development because of the influence of their family background considering their parents’ educational level where both parent has no formal education and family size where in a family they have up to 5 - 7 children and the likes.

  Some student’s lives with their detached parents and those whom they live with, do not care for them in anyway. These are sets of students that are found picking from trash piles, begging, pick-pocketing, etc. This kind of students develop inferiority complex of themselves among their peers in and outside the school community. They find themselves in situations like this and many more which may positively or negatively influenced their self-concept.

  Since self-concept plays a major role in the social relationship, peer relationship, compatibility with life events and behavior, there is need to identify the influence of family background on self-concept of secondary school students in Akwa Ibom State. This would help to proffer solution on how the influence can be curtailed or improved upon.  

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of family background on self-concept of secondary school students in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state.

       Specifically, the study aimed at the following objectives:

1. To assess the influence of family size on Secondary School students’ self-concept.

2. To determine the influence of family type on Secondary School students’ self-concept.

3. To ascertain the influence of parents’ educational level on Secondary School students’ self-concept.

4. To find out how family social class influences Secondary School students’ self-concept.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to parent, School management, Future researchers, Curriculum planners and the Department of Institute of Education in the University of Uyo.

To parents, this study would help them to shape positively their child’s self-image and to set a good, loving and caring family environment for their children.

The study will also be of immense help to schools management because it will enlighten them on the important factors in the students’ family background so as to create parameter to deal with those factors for the enhancement of students’ positive self-concept. 

To Future Researchers, this study would serve as a literature to support their arguments and hence improved knowledge. These will have enriched available information on family background specific factors and how they affect students’ self-concept in secondary school.

The findings of this study would provide a sound basis for Curriculum Planners to understand that students come from various family backgrounds so as to plan curriculum that will help students reconstruct their misconceptions.

Finally, it would stimulate further researches relevant in this area in the department of Institute of Education.

1.5 Research Questions 

The following research questions were posted as a guide to the study:

1. How does family size influence secondary school students’ self-concepts?

2. How does family type influence secondary school students’ self-concepts?

3. How does parents’ educational level influence secondary school students’ self-concept?

4. How does family social class influence secondary school students’ self-concepts?

1.6 Research Hypotheses

1.  There is no significant influence of family size on secondary school students’ self-concept.

2. There is no significant influence of family type on secondary school students’ self-concept. 

3. There is no significant influence of parents’ educational level on secondary school students’ self-concept

4. There is no significant influence of family social class on secondary school students’ self-concept.

1.7 Delimitation of the Study

This study is concerned with family background and its possible influence on self-concept of secondary school students. Many factors could contribute to family background and self-concept but for the purpose of this study, only family size, family social class, family type and parents’ educational level were selected for the study. Spatially the scope of this study was delimited to sample of senior secondary two (SS2) students in Ibibio Ibom Local Government Area.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

Family: This refers to a group of related kinds, linked by blood marriage, which occupy a household and are usually characterized by economic cooperation and solidarity. They are related by blood including those adopted to the group.

Family background: This refers to circumstances and past events that help to explain how a child develops. It also consists of all the constructs of the family that have the capacity of influencing its members. In this context it includes: family size, family type, family social class and parents’ educational level.

Self Concept: This refers to the mental image or perception that one has of oneself. This includes the perception of his or her appearances, his or her values, beliefs and aspirations, his or her abilities and disabilities and of his or her role and status in his life and in the family.  It is the scores obtained from student’s responses on Family Background and self-concept questionnaire (SCFBQ). Secondary school students in this study are SS II students between the ages (14-23 years). 

Family Size: This is the total number of children in the child’s family in addition to the child himself.

Family Type: Refer to whether the family is a nuclear family, extended family, monogamous family, polygamous family, polygny family, and polyandry family. The nuclear family is characterized by marriage and parenthood consisting of a man, his wife, and his children. The extended family is one which unites at least three generations of nuclear family. The monogamous family means one who marries only one wife. Polygamous family includes a man who marries more than one wife. Polygyny family refers to situations where one man has multiple wives and polyandry family refers to one woman with multiple husbands.    

Family Social Class: Refer to the relative position of a family on hierarchical social structure base on access to or control over wealth, prestige and power. Social class are categorized into levels such as: high, middle and low. 

Education Level: This refers to the rank of a person formal educational attainment.   



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