Impact of Family Structure and Family Change in Child Outcomes: A case study of Undergraduate Students of Kabarak University
Langat, Julius Kiprono
Murgor, Nelly Jebet
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Students in the universities and tertiary institutions manifest damning consequences of a dysfunctional family structure and family change. Family is a very important unit of the society and requires effort to build it. At some point in life people get married and develop a desire to have children and desire also that children should grow up to be healthy, happy and self reliant. For the parents who succeed the rewards are great; but for the parents who have children but fail to rear them to be healthy, happy and self reliant the penalties are anxiety, frustration, friction, and perhaps shame or quilt, may be severe. Therefore, a research was conducted at Kabarak University among first year undergraduate students who joint the university in September 2016 to ascertain the impact of family structure and family change on the students’ lives. The study was guided by the social learning theory by Albert Bandura. The study was undertaken in Kabarak University. It adopted a descriptive survey research design. The target population was 1222 first year undergraduate students who were admitted in September 2016. A sample of 310 respondents aged 17-24 years were selected through simple random sampling derived from the undergraduate first year students. The data was collected through questionnaire. Data analysis encompassed descriptive and statistical method. The study revealed that family structure and family change impacts a great deal on the child outcomes i.e. students who engage in unhealthy behaviors like those who engage in alcohol & drugs (10%), socio-economic challenges (25.2%), emotional disturbances (29.2%), medical related issues i.e. ulcers and blood pressure (12%), academic and career issues (10%), and those who raised no issues were only 13.6%. The rest were as a result of a dysfunctional family structure and change due to separation and divorce, single parenting, and loss of both parents due to death. Parenting styles also contribute a great deal to the unhealthy behaviors among children especially those in the university. The study is important such that it yields data and information on the impact of family structure and family change on child outcomes. The study recommends that parents should be more proactive in the way they bring up their children right from birth until they become adults and mature enough to make their own life decisions.