The importance of family life on the development of the child has been well documented. In Africa, however, little research has been undertaken to assess the influence that family life and marital status of parents have on child development. It was hypothesized that African adolescents from broken homes would experience: (1) less involvement in informal social relations and organized group activities; (2) less popularity with peers; (3) more personal, social, and disciplinary problems; and (4) more fluctuation in academic performance when compared to peers from homes where two parents were present. To test these hypotheses, 8th and 11th grade students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia were interviewed. The experimental group consisted of 173 students from broken homes. Students (N=150) from intact families, matched with the experimental group in age, sex, and socioeconomic background, comprised the control group. Data were collected from a questionnaire and sociometric rating scale administered to all students; interviews with instructional staff; and academic records. Overall, the findings indicated that one out of three adolescents attending secondary schools in Addis Ababa came from broken homes. The social and academic profile of these students differed from that of students from intact homes, with the students from broken homes generally at a disadvantage. However, the incidence of broken homes and the magnitude of their effects on aspects of emotional, social, and academic performance varied according to the age, sex, and socioeconomic background of students. (Author/NRB)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (69th, Chicago, IL, March 31-April 4, 1985).