The study examined the influence of family background on the academic performance of secondary school students in selected secondary school in Ondo State. The study also addressed the influence of parental intimacy on academic performance of senior secondary school students, the influence of leadership style of the parent on students’ academic performance, the influence of the parents’ type of employment on students’ academic performance and the influence of economics status of parents on students’ academic performance.

The research design for this work was descriptive of survey type.  

The population comprised of all the students in Ondo State Secondary School while the sample comprised of one hundred and twenty (120) students from six (6) secondary schools in Ondo State.  Twenty (20) students were randomly selected from each secondary schools which make up a total of 120 students. The instrument used for this study was self-designed questionnaire based on the research questions earlier raised in this study. The data collected through the questionnaire were analysed using frequency count and simple percentages.

Based on the findings, it was revealed that intimacy between parent and children enhance good academic performance, enables  parents to identify their children’s weak point in their academics, increases emotional feelings, increase students interest in academics, and enable parents to teach children  at home. Finding also revealed that economic status of a family is capable of affecting the behaviour of the children in school.       

Based on the findings, it was recommended that Parents should have close intimacy with their children in order identify their week point and find means to enhance their academic performance. Parents should ensure the type of leadership style operated at home enhanced their children performance,  also parent should not be too harsh on their children. Parents should make sure that they do not affect their children academics.


Title page                                                                                        





Table of contents                                                                                      


Background of the Study                                                                          

Statement of the Problem                                                                         

Purpose of the Study                                                                       

Research Questions                                                                         

Significance of the Study                                                                

Delimitation of the Study                                                                        

Definition of Terms                                                                        


Concept of Family                                                                                           

Concept of Family Background                                                            

Concept of Academic Performance                                                       

Influence of Leadership style of Parent on Students Academic


Influence of Parental intimacy on Student Academic Performance      

Influence of Economic Status of Parents on Students Academic



Research Design                                                                              

Population of the Study                                                                   

Sample and Sampling Techniques                                                   

Research Instrument                                                                  

Validity of Instrument                                                                     

Reliability of Instrument                                                                          

Administration of the Instruments                                                   

Data Analysis                                                                                  












Background of the Study

          Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens because education is very important in the development of any nation or community especially the youths. Education is the process of transmitting what is worthwhile to members of the society. According to Okafor (2011). Education embraces all those experiences of the individual through which knowledge is acquired and intellect enlightened of which could only be achieved with influence of the family.

          Family is the first social environment the child finds itself. For Nwabachili and Egbue (2013) education is what goes on from one generation to another generation. In this context, education is the process of socializing the child to grow up as a fulfilled member of the society through informal, formal and non-formal process. Informal education is the process of acquiring knowledge about the environment and beyond through living with one another. According to Nwabachili and Egbue (2013) formal education is a consciously planned form of socialization in a formal setting such as school. They stressed that non-formal education involve all those systematic programmes and processes of education and training that is done outside formal education setting.

          According to Clifford (2011) family remains the primary environment of the child. The author emphasized that family environment has more chances of increasing or decreasing the intellectual performance of the child. Akubue and Okolo (2008), defined family as a small kinship structural group with the key function of natural socialization of the new born. Similarly, in Okunniyi (2014), family is defined as a primary social group of parents, offspring and possibly other members of the household.

          Family background refers to all the conditions and circumstances in the family which influence the child physically, intellectually and emotionally Muola (2010). Children coming from different family backgrounds are affected different by such family conditions, that is why some children have good family background while some have poor background.

          Formal education therefore remains the vehicle for human development which must start from the family. There are different categories of families. The major categories of families according to Anderson and Taylor (2000) includes: Traditional families–where the father is the major breadwinner and mother at home rearing children; divorced families–families that have been reconstituted following the breaking of marriage; single parent families–likely headed by women; step families–with new siblings and new parents stemming from re-marriage. A family could also be categorized as extended or nuclear. Extended families are those in which large group of related kin in addition to parents and children live together in the same household. This is the type of families prevalent in African countries. Nuclear families are families where married couple resides together with their children. This type of family is common in Western countries (Andersen and Taylor 2000).

          Families are of various sizes. Family size has to do with the total number of people in a single family which may include the father, mother, children and even the extended members – all living in one hamlet. According to Alio (2015) family size has implication for education. The author emphasized that the size of the family determines to a great extent the relative amount of physical attention and time which each child gets from his parents. Large families are more common among the lower class of the society. Children in large families may suffer poverty and lack parental encouragement and stimulus which motivate their academic performance (Eamon, 2005). Similarly, smaller family size has been linked with high academic performance (Majoribank 2016) Majoribank further stressed that students with fewer siblings are likely to receive more parental attention and have support that leads to better school performance. Family (small or large size) remains the primary environment of every child. The families begin the process of education and provide physical and psychological needs of the child. This supports the view of Maduewisi (2012), that the environmental experiences from family, peer group and school location have great influence in determining child’s intellectual ability. She maintained that bright children from under-privileged family environment may turn dull due to impoverished family environment. She added that mental development influence intellectual development. This is in line with Hebb (2017) who observed that the innate potentials of children cannot be attained without adequate stimulating family environment because the child cannot do well intellectually. The implication is that a proper stimulating family environment with intellectual potential and appropriate teaching methods will definitely enhance maximum performance of the child.

          The economic implication of large family size is better explained in Okuniyi (2014) who observed from his study that as families get larger, parents cannot give their children the same amount of individual attention. They could not afford to provide them with so many of the things which will help them to make the best possible use of their years at school such as educational aids, and quiet comfortable rooms in which to do home work undisturbed by the television, outings to places of interest, leisure time pursuits, and opportunities for traveling. What is most probably important of all, according to him is the fact that the parents of large families were found not to talk with their children to the same extent as parents of small families.

          Another aspect of family environmental factor is the structure of the family. Structurally, a family is either broken or intact. A broken family in this context is one that is not structurally intact for various reasons; such as death of a parent, divorce, separation, desertion and illegitimacy in which case, the family was never completed (Coukline 2016). Life in a single parent family can be stressful for both the child and the parent and such families are faced with the challenges of diminished financial resources, assumptions of new roles and responsibilities, establishment of new pattern in intra-familial interactions and reorganization or routines and schedules, (Agulanna 2012).

          In single parent families, children may suffer some psychological and social problems which affect their academic performance. Danesy and Okedian (2012), in their study, lamented that street hawking among secondary school students have psychologically imposed other problems, such as sex networking behaviour, juvenile delinquent behaviour, which take much of the student school time that necessitated the poor academic performance and drop out syndrome noticed among young school students. They also lamented that the maternal and paternal deprivation of essential needs of the young students have promoted their poor performance in public examinations, such as JSCE, WASSCE and NECO. Similarly, (Okunniyi 2004) asserted that a child who suffers maternal and paternal deprivation may experience academic problems including truancy in the school. This is because the child may lack some necessities like school fees, books and uniforms. These conditions, according to the authors, are not conducive for effective parenting because when the single parents are overburdened by responsibilities and by the own, emotional, reaction to their situation, they often become irritable, impatient and insensitive to their children’s needs.

          Apart from the structural pattern of the family, another powerful variable in the family that determines the student’s academic performance is the family socio-economic status (SES). According to (Jeynes 2002), the socio-economic status (SES) of a child is most commonly determined by combining portent’s educational level, occupational status, and income level. Social class and economic status of the parents determine the type of school and the standard of training they desire for their children. The occupation or profession of the parents, the educational level and whether the mothers are working or non-working mothers places them at an advantage or disadvantage to evaluate their children’s academic work and monitor their progress.

          Status is often determined by the individuals economic attainment, though it is sometimes ascribed on the individual. Okunniyi (2004), identified three distinct socio-economic  groups or status which are common in many countries. They are: upper class- which is made up of rich business men and top government officials among others; middle class-which consists of skilled workers, professionals and middle ranked government workers and the lower class- which is made up of manual workers, petty traders and low income government officials.

          Francis (2010) opines that the lower income families may be aware of the importance of education in the society, but at the same time, they are also aware of their limited resources to measure up with such educational demands. According to the author, a family that can scarcely provide for the basic needs of the family which include food, shelters and clothing will hardly motivate the academic excellence of their children, instead they will pressurize their children so seek for job opportunities with the little education they acquired so far to support the family. The implication of the agreement is that for families are likely to give their children poor academic background because of lack of financial support.

          The socio-economic status of a family is capable of affecting the behaviour of the children and determine their aspiration. Families with high socio-economic status often have more success in preparing their children for school because they typically have access to wide range of providing their young children with high quality child-care, books and encourage children in various learning activities at home. They also have easy access to information regarding their children’s health, as well as social, emotional and cognitive development (Ojo and Yilma 2010), Ojo and Yilma also noted that in all socio-economic groups, parents face major challenges when it comes to providing optimal care and education for their children and these challenges are more pronounced in poor families. This, according to them, is because sometimes, when the basic necessities are lacking, parents must place top priority on housing, food, clothing and health care, regarding education materials and books as luxuries. They added that poor families may also have inadequate or limited access to community resources that promote and support children’s development and school readiness. They further asserted that these disadvantages can negatively affect family’s decisions regarding their children development and learning. This situation, according to Ojo and Yilma, may also expose the infants in poor families to a greater risk of entering kindergarten schools unprepared, unlike their peers from rich families.

          Parents’ motivation is another family background factor which influence the academic performance of students. Students under motivated condition, exhibits purposeful behaviour aimed at achieving academic set goals. The performance of these goals determines the motive. Hickey and Lindsey (2015) clearly distinguished two perspectives of motivation; these are situational and dispositional perspectives. According to them, disposition perspective asks questions about students’ general orientation to learning which relates the students’ priority and students’ nature. The situational perspective according to the scholars focuses on learning context. These scholars further identified to factors that greatly influence students’ motivation. These are: interpersonal factors such as curiosity, perseverance, and autonomy (intrinsic-factors) and environmental factors such as parents, peers and sibling (extrinsic factors).

          Research shows that supportive and attentive parenting practices positively affect academic performance (Eamon, 2005). In addition, high parental aspirations have been associated with increasing students’ interest in education (Majoribanks, 2005). The effect of parental motivation and involvement in their children’s school has on academic performance is less clear (Domina 2005), parental motivation and involvement in school has been linked to both positive and negative influences on academic performance (McNeal, 2001, Domina, 2005). Explanations for this discrepancy are not conclusive. It is thought that the type of involvement and motivation may make a difference and that in some cases parents become involved after their child has already had academic difficulties (Domina, 2005, McNeal, 2001). Other recent research has found more conclusively that while parental motivation may not help academic performance, it does help prevent behaviouqral problems (Domina, 2014).

          Students with fewer siblings are likely to receive more parental attention and motivation and thus have more access to resources than children from large families. The additional attention and motivation leads to better school performance (Majoribanks, 2016, Thondike, 2017 and Samon, 20015). Thondike reorganized seven ways of motivating students viz: awareness on the part of the parents of the value of education whether such parents are literature of illiterate; existence of books, newspapers, comic books; good nutrition and sleeping habit; adequate facilities for sleep, for study and for rest; satisfaction of physical needs like food, shelter and clothing; objects in the home which challenges the child’s curiosity.

          Douglas (2014) established a positive correlation between children’s academic performance and motivation. The author laid considerable emphasis upon parental interest as a factor governing children’s chances of being awarded grammar school admissions. For the author, the simple most important factor that influence educational attainment of children appears to be the degree of parents interest in their children’s education. Douglas further stated that middle class parents express great interest in their children’s education as indicated by more frequent visits to school to discuss children’s progress, buying relevant textbooks and other necessary materials needed in the school for their children. The author also found from his study that parental interest and encouragement become increasingly important as a spur to high attainment as the children grow older. He also attached importance to the child’s early years, since in many cases, performance during the first years of school is reflected throughout the secondary school. He suggested that during primary socialization, middle-class children receive greater attention and stimulus from their parents. This forms basis for high performance in the educational system.

          Students from low socio-economic status families may not be strongly motivated to do well in school and may not be knowledgeable about techniques of being successful in school. High socio-economic status parents who have benefited in a variety of ways from education serves as effective and enthusiastic advocate of schooling (Carlson, 2003). In line with this Okwulanya (2003) opines that motivation from educated parents strengthens the academic aspiration and language development in their children to perform better in their academic work. According to the scholar, some children may come from homes were academic is much valued, where there are books around them and most of the time, they see their parents reading. Their parents may give them books as Christmas presents. They encourage them to read many books wither by organizing mini library for them at home or by encourage to use the state library. The author went further to emphasize that some children may come from illiterate homes, where no importance is attached to books. In such families children scarcely see their parents at home.

          The importance of parental level of education to academic performance of students cannot be over emphasized. Students from professional and to a lesser extent managerial occupational backgrounds exhibit higher academic performance (Gary, 2001). In support of this view, Onochie and Okpalla (2015) opined that educational level of parents which is an indicator of socio-economic status has direct influence on child’s values and academic performance in the school. They mentioned that children from illiterate families may learn little or nothing from home that can help them develop interest in academics. This is in contrast to what is obtainable from children from literature families where parents provide atmosphere conducive for the formation of good study habits (Qeca, 2010).

Parental occupation is also an important family background variable. The occupation of one’s parents may determine to a large extent one’s opportunity to attend secondary school or not. Ezeji (2011) noted that parents like their children to take to their occupation, like parents who are lawyers, doctors, musicians among others. Examples of such people in the country include Gani faweiheni, the prominent human right lawyer, Oliver Akalite (Oliver De coque) and Osita Osadebe who were famous musicians each of these great men had one or more of his children in his type of occupation. It is against this background that the researcher is interested in investigating the influence of family background on academic performance of secondary school in Ondo State.

Statement of the Problem

Some of the problems identified influencing students’ academic performance are poor parental leadership, lack of parental intimacy, lack of motivation, lack parental involvement in children assignment after school, socio economic status of parents, family size, structure of the family (broken or intact), and parents level of education. These factors can neither influence the students’ academic performance positively or negatively depending on the family the child found himself. It in light of the above issues that the study investigate the influence of family background on academic performance of secondary school students in Ondo State.

Purpose of the Study

          The purpose of the study is to examine the influence of family background on the academic performance of secondary school students in six selected secondary school in Ondo State. Specifically, the purpose of the study is to find out:

The influence of parental intimacy on academic performance of senior secondary school students.

The influence of leadership style of the parent on students’ academic performance.

The influence of the parents’ type of employment on students’ academic performance.

The influence of economics status of parents on students’ academic performance.

Research Questions

          The following research questions are raised to guide the study

i.          What are the influence of parental intimacy on academic performance of senior secondary school students?

ii.        What are the influence of leadership style of parents on students’ academic performance?

iii.     What are the influence of parents type of employment on students’ academic performance?

iv.      What are the influence of economics status of parents on students’ academic performance?

Significance of the study

          The findings of this study will be useful to teachers, students, parents, Parents Teachers Association (PTA), educational administrators and the society at large. The  findings will help to explain the functionality of the theoretical postulations Maslow’s motivational theory, that opined that, motivation is very important in learning, and a learner under motivated condition, exhibits purposeful behaivour aimed to achieving the set goal.

          The finding of the study will be of immense help to the teachers. The teachers will realize the necessity of individualizing their teaching by structuring their teaching methods and instructional resources to take care of the divergent parental backgrounds of the students. This method may yield more positive result than the traditional system which assumes that all children have similar family background. The findings of the study will also help teachers to exercise patience with slow-learners as they vary methods of instruction to accommodate divergent family background.

          The findings will be of immense importance to students. The students will realize that their poor performance might not necessarily be their fault alone, especially those from low status families. Such knowledge will go a long way to reduce frustration in the students and also reduce drop-outs which occur as a result of frustration. Rather, the students should be made to adjust and help themselves by studying hard at home and also make proper use of the books and materials that are provided for them at the school library.

          Through the findings of this study, parents will realize the importance of supporting and improving their educational standard so as to influence their children’s academic performance. Parents will also understand the need for them to improve their socio-economic status so as to be able to provide the necessary motivation in form of learning materials and other things which will enhance their children’s learning and their academic performance. They will equally acknowledge the importance of positive motivations and encouragement and provide some, by making the family environment more conducive for their children.

          The school guidance counselors will also benefit from the findings of this study since they are in position to guide and counsel students in the area of personal social interactions, academic performance and career choice.

          The findings of the study would help Parents Teacher Associations (PTA) of schools in promoting the academic performance of student. This is because at PTA meetings, parents know their functions and responsibilities at home, to help solve their children’s problems both home and school environment.

          The findings of the study will be of immense help to educational administrators. They will use the findings in the formulation of policy that will regulate equal educational opportunities for all children irrespective of their family background in the distribution of equipment, facilities and amenities to schools.

          The findings of this study will help the society at large in identifying how family environmental variables such as what parents’ level of education, parents’ income, parents’ occupation, parents’ motivation and family size on student’s academic performance. This will act as a check on increasing low academic performance among students, occasioned by the fact that some parents, teachers and counselors do not have adequate knowledge/input required of them.

          Finally, the study would add to existing literature and serve as reference material for researchers who may want to carry out research on similar topic.

Delimitation of Study

          The study is delimited to all secondary school students in Ondo State. it is also delimited to investigate the influence of family background on academic performance of  secondary school students in Ondo State. The study would be delimited to six local government in Ondo State. 

Definition of Terms

Family Background: Is the details of a person's family, education, experience, etc. a person's family/social/cultural/educational/class background.

Leadership style of the Parents: This refers to the  method by which parents provide direction, implementing plans, and motivating children

Parental Intimacy: this is the closeness between parent 

Academic Performance: Is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational benchmarks such as secondary school diplomas and bachelor's degrees represent academic performance

Parents’ Type of Employment: This refers to the type of job a child parent is doing.

Economic Status:  Means educational level of parents, the income of family, environment in the family and standard of living of the family) of parents.

Intimacy between the parents: This the relationship that exist between parents. 

Leadership style of the parents: In this study leadership style of parents is demonstrated when parents take action to accomplish a academic goal of their children.

Parental type of employment: This is the type of job a parent do to earn a living

Economic status of the family: This is the family's economic and social position in relation to others, based on household income, earners' education, and occupation are examined.






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