FAMILY INSTABILITY AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY- A STUDY OF OWERRI MUNICIPALITY
The increasing rate of juvenile delinquency has become a major social problem globally and locally. Researchers and concerned individuals have traced the preponderance of juvenile delinquency to the increasing rate of family instability among other factors. However, concerted inquiries into the influence of family instability on juvenile delinquency have resulted in a raging controversy. While some researchers have found a significant relationship between family instability and juvenile delinquency, others have suggested otherwise. Against this backdrop, this study set out to fill this yawning gap in literature and also to examine the relationship between family instability and juvenile delinquency in Owerri Municipality. Using the purposive sampling method, 510 senior secondary school students were selected for this study from 10 comprehensive secondary schools in Owerri Municipality. The questionnaire and the interview guide were used for data collection. 3 hypotheses were formulated to guide this study. The hypotheses were tested with the chi-square (x2) statistic. The results of the analyses suggested that children from unstable homes were more likely to engage in juvenile delinquency than their counterparts from more stable homes; inadequate parental supervision predicted delinquency while considerable familial conflicts increased the likelihood of delinquency. This study recommended among other things that Governments, counselors and concerned agencies should routinely develop programmes aimed at sensitizing parents and care-givers on parent roles and obligations.