Family Dynamics and Adolescent Conduct Disorders Among Nigerian Secondary School Students

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Interest in children who have conduct disorders has heightened in recent years because of the significant increase in the prevalence of deviant behaviour among students. Conduct disorder is a repetitive and persistent pattern of behaviour in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated (American Psychological Association, 2000). In Nigeria, students with conduct disorders engage in deviant behaviours such as aggression, peer cruelty, fighting, bullying or threatening others, pilfering, rioting, stealing, truancy, substance abuse, raping, smoking, lateness, falsification of results, violation of rules and regulations, assault of both students and teachers, vandalisation of
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Children, whose parents are detached, coerce them or fail to provide consistent discipline and supervision are apparently more likely to develop conduct disorders (Phares, 2003; Biederman, Mick, Faranone, & Burback, 2001; Patterson 1996). Conduct disorders are also more likely to exist where parents lack warmth; are highly critical and unpredictably administer harsh physical punishment (Bishop, Murphy, Hicks, Quinn, Lewis, Grace, & Jellinek, 2001; Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1999).
In addition, Alfred Adler in his individual psychology was particularly interested in the kinds of early family influences that predispose the child to faulty lifestyle. He observed that the personalities of the oldest, middle and youngest child in a family were likely to be quite different and attributed this to the distinctive experiences that each child has as a member of the family. The youngest child, he said is the spoilt and pampered child and is likely to become maladjusted in the society. Pampered, they expect society to conform to their self-centred wishes and where society fails, they become destructive. Adler considered them to be potentially, the most dangerous class in the society.
From the foregoing and considering the cross-cultural implications of these issues, finding out the family variables germane to conduct disorder in Nigerian secondary school students is crucial. Review of the literature and clinical experience generated three

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