EFFECTS OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

ABSTRACT
Sexual activities among adolescents have been reported to be on the increase. The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of sexual immorality on academic performance among public secondary school students in Kumasi, Ghana. The objectives of the study were to: establish the influence of teenage homosexuality, heterosexuality, contraceptive use and guidance and counseling programs on academic performance of secondary school students. The Social Cognitive Theory and Social Learning theories developed by Albert Bandura guided the study. Descriptive survey and correlational research designs were used. The study population comprised 3,774 form 3 students, 52 Deputy Head teachers and 52 Guidance and Counseling teachers in public secondary schools in Kumasi. Data was collected using questionnaires, interview schedules and Focus Group Discussions. The instruments were validated by supervisors and research experts‘ opinion and were adjusted based on their recommendations. The reliability coefficient of the instruments was set at .70 and .829 was achieved from the piloted set of tools. Both descriptive and inferential methods of data analysis were employed. In descriptive analysis, mean, frequencies and percentages were used while in inferential statistics; Pearson‘s r was employed to test the significance of hypotheses. Findings of the study were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings indicate a slight positive correlation between teenage homosexual immorality and academic performance, which was statistically significant (r = .189, n = 384, p = .01). There was low significant positive relationship between risks associated with teenage homosexual immorality and academic performance among the learners. Moreover, results show negative relationship between teen heterosexuality and academic performance (r = -.703**, p<.00). The more teenagers are actively involved in heterosexual activities the more their minds are pre-occupied with possible disruption to education. In addition, there exists a significant and positive relationship between teen contraceptive use and academic performance (r =.955**, p<.00). The majority, 35.17% of the respondents disagreed that presence of health programs did influence their academic performance. The study recommends special attention to be given to students with a view to integrate them to conform to societal expectations. Sex education to be introduced in schools before adolescence, so as to ensure teenagers go through the transition from adolescence to adulthood without compromising their education goals.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
Sexual immorality is a major concern; this is not only to the Ghanaian government, but across the world. Parents, religious leaders and society in general are equally concerned about this phenomenon. This is because of the implications of sexual immorality on education and the health of teenagers. The adolescent stage among teenagers is a period of turmoil marked with enormous vibrancy, discovery, innovation and hope and also the time when many of them initiate sexual relationships and involvement (Kirby, 2012). This can be a challenging time for young people (Kim, Sheridan & Holcomb, 2009) who often engage in risky sexual behavior (Linbee, 2000). According to (Neman 2014), student sexual behavior evinced by the disquieting statistics indicated massive school drop outs resulting from teenage pregnancies, abortions, HIV/AIDS infections, STI transmissions and death. These consequently resulted in a myriad of social, health and academic problems, low education attainment or dropping out of school. Several studies in Sub-Saharan Africa have also documented high and increasing premarital sexual activities among adolescents (Ochieng‘, 2013). In the last three decades, a substantial increase has been observed in the proportion of adolescents who engaged in sexual activity while at school (Kirby, 2012).

Studies however have found negative associations between teenage sexual activity with academic outcomes at secondary school that are not explained by prior confounding influences. A few studies found longitudinal associations between sexual debut and declined academic performance in US secondary school students (Sprigs & Halpern, 2008). Sexual debut before age 16 was associated with decreased early adulthood participation in tertiary education (sprigs & Halpern, 2008). (Madkour, 2010) conducted a comparative study of five countries (Scotland, Finland, France, Poland and United States). They asserted that sexual activities among adolescents have been reported to be increasing worldwide. They concluded that early sexual activity is a risk behavior that is inversely associated to school attachment and academic performance.

A number of studies have related adolescent sexual activities to education; the latter has usually been conceptualized as consequence (Amba, 2010) reported that about one-half of the students in grades nine through twelve in the United States are sexually experienced. Sexual activity begins at young ages, with 14.6 percent of boys and 13.0 percent of girls initiating before age 15, and even higher rates in certain subgroups (Arcidiacono, 2009). The prevalence of sexual activity among adolescents raises substantial concerns, largely because of associated risks such as unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. The proportion of high school students who were sexually active has remained steady since 1997, approaching nearly 50% for all high school students with almost 70% of youth experiencing sexual debut by age 18 (Eaton, 2007); (Grunbaum, 2001). Approximately 7.1% of American youth report sexual debut prior to 13, with more male than female youth reporting early sexual debut; by age 16, approximately 30% of females and 34% of males have had sexual intercourse (Finer, 2007).

Global studies also reveal that about 16 million teenage girls aged 15-19 years and 2 million girls under the age of 15 years give birth annually. In addition, statistics indicate that 41% of teenagers had ever had sexual intercourse, 30% had had sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months prior to the study. Of these, 43% did not use a condom , while 14% did not use any contraceptive the last time they had sex, Only 10% of all students had ever been tested for HIV among U.S. high school students surveyed in 2015 (CDC, 2022).Sexual risk behaviors place teens at risk for HIV infection, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and unintended pregnancy. Young people (aged 13-24) accounted for an estimated 22% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2015 (CDC, 2015). Among young people (aged 13-24) diagnosed with HIV in 2015, 81% were gay and bisexual males (CDC, 2015). Half of the nearly 20 million new STDs reported each year were among young people, between the ages of 15 to 24. (CDC, 2014) and nearly 230,000 babies were born to teen girls aged 15–19 years in 2015 (CDC, 2015). A National Survey on Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) 2009 involving more than 800 teenagers, aged 14 to 17 years also revealed that a lot of U.S. teenagers engage in masturbation. The report further added that both sexes engage in early sexual activities although boys start earlier than girls, do it more often than girls and both had a likelihood of engaging in sexual relations with a partner and an increased condom use.

(Myalkado,2014) reported that school girls‘ pregnancy is the salient indicator of the existence of sexual activity in schools in Tanzania. They also reported that pregnancies in secondary schools increased from 6.5 percent in 2006 to 20.4 percent in 2009 (URT,

2010). The existence of students‘ sexual relationship fuelled by self-sexual desire through sexual exploitation was a common practice in Tanzanian schools. It was also found that most sexually active students performed poorly in their studies and faced several problems that significantly compromised their academic lives.

Another issue of concern to sexual and reproductive health specialist is contraceptive use among teenage students and its influence on academic performance. In the context of many African cultures, the situation is the reverse where sex remains part of a sacred norm and most young people who live with their parents or relatives are discouraged from accessing sex related devices such as condoms for fear of being identified as promiscuous (Mberu, 2008) or being reprimanded. It is for similar reasons that health care providers in Malawi, South Africa and other countries are identified as cruel to young people, consequently hindering them from accessing sexual and reproductive information and services (Woodkate, 2012) .As a result, teenage contraceptive use in Africa is as low as 37% (Kennedy & Gray, 2011; (Guttmacher, 2012) .In African countries like Ghana and Nigeria the factors determining sexual activity and contraceptive use are somewhat similar to those across Africa. They include age, gender, educational level, social economic status, self-efficacy (peer influences), number of sexual partners, need to prove sexual prowess, sexual coercion (pressure from boyfriend and peers), religiosity, knowledge and perceived risk of sexually transmitted infections which have a bearing on academic performance.

In Ghana, there is an established trend of diminishing population of students with regard to academic performance. Forty-six percent of high school students report ever having had sex and thirty-four percent reported being currently sexually active. Sexual intimacy is a part of many students‘ lives (Wanjala, 2015). (Zabin, 1995) reported that the single most important predictor of sexual activity among teenagers was the use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco in Ghana. In particular, (Aspy, 2012) found that teenagers with lower grades were more likely to have participated in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex. Problems relating to physical health and other non-health issues may be associated with a set of psycho-social problems that impact negatively on development and welfare of young people hence predisposes teenagers to poor academic performance (Basch, 2010).

There are rising cases of underage pregnancies in Western part of Ghana with statistics showing that 36 girls in some schools were found pregnant in one term (The Weekly Western Chronicle, 2022). Furthermore, statistics show that teenage pregnancy rate is 30 per cent, HIV AND AIDS prevalence 6.6 per cent, (RoK, 2000) implying high sexual activities among teenagers. On the other hand, 19 boys were suspended from the same region for alleged involvement in homosexuality (Wanjala, 2015). These behaviours predispose teenagers to academic risks by reducing their motivation to learn; reducing their feeling of connectedness to school (a key factor in academic performance); and contributing to absenteeism and even temporary or permanent dropping out (Basch, 2010). It is against this background that the current study investigated the influence of sexual immorality on academic performance among public secondary school students in Kumasi, Ghana.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
Majority of the education systems in the world are designed in such a way that entry into teenage coincides with joining secondary or high school. The general societal expectation is that these teenage students will remain focused in school, study hard, pass their examinations, join tertiary institutions and eventually start their careers. Incidentally it is still during these teenage years that majority of them hit puberty and adolescence. According to Kirby (2012),the adolescence period is one of confusion with adolescents facing ongoing conflict and difficulty adapting to both physiological and psychological changes in their bodies. These changes, including the sudden upsurge of sexual and aggressive drives cause unrest and turmoil in the teenagers‘ inner selves and in the way they perceive the world. It is at this time when many of them initiate sexual relationships and involvement.

Unfortunately, in the state of confusion and without guidance these teenage students are unable to balance between sexual relations and the academics. In most cases, the teenagers in the curious and adventurous stupor, prioritize sexual activities over academics as many findings have emerged indicating that teenage sexual activity negatively influences educational attainment (Owen, Rhoades, Stanley, & Fincham, 2010) .The risk associated with teen sexual activity include unplanned pregnancy, HIV infection and other STIs more often than not result in consequences such as absentia from school, lack of morale for education, suspensions, expulsions and school dropout culminating in shattered dreams.

Regrettably the statistics of the consequences of teen sexual activity are consistently increasing and are perturbing. For instance, according to Reports from the Ghana National Bureau of Statistics, out of 310,000 abortions that occur every year in Ghana, 16% (49,600) of the admitted cases are teenagers. What is even more worrying is the impact of sexual activity of the teenagers‘ academic attainment. According to the same report a whopping 13,000 teenagers drop out of school annually over sexual activities related cases.

Amidst the national crisis, the former western province where Kumasi County lies is the one of the hardest hit by the risks of teenage sexual activity. Whereas the teenagers‘ national childbearing average is 18%, in the region it lies at 25%. In 2022, one school in Kumasi County had 36 pregnant girls in one term (The weekly Western Chronicle, 2022). HIV and AIDS prevalence is 6.6%, (RoK, 2000) implying high sexual activities among teenagers as compared to the national figure at 6.0. On the other hand, 19 boys were suspended from the same region for alleged involvement in homosexuality (Wanjala 2015).

These behaviors predispose teenagers to academic risks by reducing their motivation to learn; reducing the feeling of connectedness to school (a key factor in academic performance); and contributing to abseentism and even temporary and permanent dropping out (Busch, 2010). Teenagers in the region have been reported to spend most of their time with electronic devices such as computers and televisions either at home or in the cyber cafes in town browsing probably watching phonography associated with sexual activities (Mberi, 2014). If the situation is not curbed immediately, in the long run, the country stands to suffer the risk of a semi illiterate generation and inadequate skilled workforce to run its economy. It is against this back ground that the current study investigated the influence of sexual immorality on academic performance among public secondary school students in Kumasi, Ghana.

1.3 Purpose and Objectives for the Study
The purpose of the study was to determine the influence of sexual immorality on academic performance among Public Secondary School students in Kumasi, Ghana.

The general objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between sexual immorality and academic performance among public secondary school students in Kumasi.

1.3.1 Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives were:
i) To investigate the relationship between teenage homo sexuality and academic performance among Public Secondary School Students in Kumasi.

ii) To establish whether teenage hetero sexuality affected student academic performance among Public Secondary School Students in Kumasi.

iii) To establish the relationship between teenage contraceptive use and academic performance among Public Secondary School Students in Kumasi.

1.4 Research Questions
The study was based on the following questions:

i) To what extent does teenage homosexuality influence students‘ academic performance among Public Secondary School Students?

ii) To what extent does teenage heterosexuality affect academic performance among Public Secondary School Students?

iii) How does teenage contraceptive use affect academic performance among Public Secondary School Students?

1.5 Research Hypotheses
H1: Teenage homosexuality lowers student and academic performance.

H2: Teenage heterosexuality influence student academic performance.

H3: Teenage use of contraceptives determines their academic performance.

1.6 Significance of the Study
Sexual immorality has been a major concern to Ministries of Education and Health on cases related to pregnancies, STI and HIV and AIDS leading to poor academic performance. The findings of the study will be used by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health teachers and parents to be more sensitive and supportive to teenagers in the approach of providing relevant information on human sexuality, abstinence and contraceptive use and risks or irresponsible sexual behaviuor. Further the Ministry of Education may use findings from this study to strengthen policies on sex education among teenagers in both primary and secondary schools.

The study may also help teachers to establish a more conducive and understanding environment for teenagers to open up on challenges affecting them about their sexual behavior. This may also help teachers to approach students‘ problems with sobriety and steer affected students to excellence in academics. The study may prompt parents to be more keen and open to share vital information on sexual behavior with their teenagers. The extent of sexual immorality and contraceptive use may also awaken parents and teachers to seriously and collectively work together on guidance and counseling of students in Kumasi.

The study findings will also contribute to filling the gap in knowledge concerning the teenage sexuality and academic performance and contribute to the general pool of knowledge on this subject.

1.7 Scope of the Study
The study sought to establish the influence of sexual immorality on academic performance among public secondary school students in Kumasi. It targeted 52 Public Secondary schools with study population of 3,774 form 3 students, 52 Deputy Head Teachers and 52 Guidance and Counseling Teachers (GBS, 2010; Sub-County Education Office, Kumasi, 2015). The form 3‘s were chosen despite the fact that they are in the prime adolescent stage which is a critical development period when young people experiment with sexual activities and had taken numerous examinations which formed the aspect of academic performance. The constructs were sexual immorality (teenage homosexuality, teenage heterosexuality, teenage contraceptive use and teenage guidance and counseling programmes) as the independent variable and academic performance as the dependent variable.

1.8 Limitations of the Study
There were challenges in getting access to full information especially from the students about their sexual immorality on homosexuality and heterosexuality. Students‘ fear of providing responses on their sexual activities hence limits their participation in the study. Since sexual immorality are sensitive issues, the researcher established good relationship with the students, assured them of confidentiality and that their opinion were basically for academic research. Another limitation for this particular study was time. In addition to saving time and cost, this has the added benefit of reducing survey fatigue among respondents and give adequate time for report preparation. This issue was enhanced through use of an effective work plan of activities developed and strictly adhered to. Furthermore, the study required enormous finances in order to develop a good report since the researcher was self-sponsored.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Project Material  |  Size: 63 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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