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INFLUENCE OF PEER PRESSURE AND PARENTING STYLES ON THE PERCEPTION OF FEMALE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS TOWARDS ABORTION

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ABSTRACT

The study explored the influence of peer pressure and parenting styles on the perception of female university students towards abortion. The independent variables are peer pressure and parenting styles, while abortion serves as the dependent variable. Sex, age, level and department were included as control variables because of their relative influence with the dependent variable.

The study was carried out using a total of 481 participants that were randomly selected using Convenience Sampling Technique on undergraduate students in Lagos State University, Ojo campus.

The result supported some of the hypothesis stated; there is significant positive relationship betweenparenting style and perception of abortion among female university students [r=.114, df (407), P<.05], parenting style is significantly related to perception of abortion among female university students [r=.130, df (407), P<.01], there is significant joint influence of peer pressure and parenting style on perception of abortion among female university students [R² = .023, F=4.703, P<.05], there is no significant influence of age on perception of abortion among female university students  (t=.257, df 407, P>.05). Based on this finding, the study recommended that the counselling psychologists should try new strategies such as counselling on proper parenting styles in helping parents that they would in turn draw from while raising their children and to help female undergraduate students stay away from risky sexual activities that would give rise to abortion.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

It is generally observed that the majority of university undergraduates arrogate specific deadlines to their stay on campus and may want to maximize both the main and peripheral opportunities while it lasts with the perception that the society still regards them as late adolescents or youths who could be excused for certain misdemeanors. Unfortunately, while passing out on record time is highly appreciated, passing through the university campus without allowing the university decorum to pass through the undergraduates is quite sad and drug abuse, premarital sex and abortion are index of this among most adolescents.

Moreover, the independence granted to tertiary students has led them to take a position and views different from those of their parents and adults and to act in conformity with their peers, however unconventional the act may be. Owuamanam (cited in Alade, 2013) opined that university students of today seem to value sexual activities more than their counterparts of the past years. Conger (1979) also believed that in all developmental events of adolescence, the most dramatic is the increase in sexual drive and the new and often mysterious feelings and thoughts that accompany it. Invariably, this has led to adolescent pregnancy over the years and in turn led to abortion.

In Nigeria studies on unwanted pregnancies and induced abortion among female university students are few, with a lot of studies done at the health facility level. This point out to the need of more university based studies, because most of the maternal deaths due to abortion complications occur outside the formal health system. The problem of unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion at the university is very big but much underreported; Women are not open to discuss on the sensitive issue of abortion and unplanned pregnancies. So this study will provide information on the real situation at the university level.

Several studies have been conducted to determine factors contributing to the unwanted pregnancies and induced abortion in Nigeria, Reasons includes; poverty, lack of moral and financial support from the partner, disruption of education and employment, family building preferences i.e. need to postpone childbearing or to achieve health spacing between births, relationship problems with the partner/husband, risk to maternal or foetal health, pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, most of the time it is poor access to contraceptives or contraceptive failure.

In many countries, young women and men are under strong social and peer group pressure to engage in premarital sex. Surveys have shown that, on average, 43 % of women in sub Saharan Africa started to have sex before the age of 20 (Ugoji, 2013), when this is coupled with limited accessibility of effective and modern contraceptives, then the problem of unintended pregnancies as well as induced abortion is bound to rise. Hence, this necessitated the central research question: Do peer group and parenting styles have any significant influence on the perception of female university students towards abortion? This issue brings into focus the following specific research questions:

       i.            Will parenting style have significant effect on perceptions of abortion among female university student?

     ii.            Will there be a significant relationship between peer group and the attitude towards abortion among female university students?

  iii.            Will age have any significant influence on the perception of female university student towards abortion?

   iv.            Will there be a joint influence of peer group and parenting styles on the perception of female university students towards abortion?


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