Accepted 10th June, 2020.
The future of a nation lies in its youth. The academic performance of students, being a key segment of the youth, is therefore of critical significance. This is because good academic performance opens the door for successful careers in the future. Parents bear the burden to care for their adolescent children. However, the rising prevalence of parental alcoholism is a great concern as it is likely to impact on their children’s academic performance. The purpose of this study was to establish the impact of parental alcoholism on academic performance among secondary school students. Cross-sectional survey design was used. The study was guided by Social Learning Theory that explains that behavior can be acquired by observing and imitating others. The population of the study was students enrolled in mixed public day secondary schools in Murang’a County in Kenya. A sample of 63 boys and girls drawn from the respective schools through purposive sampling method was used. The study also sampled 12 teachers and 6 community leaders. Structured questionnaire and interviews were used as the method of collecting data. Quantitative data was subjected to frequencies, percentages and cross-tabulation analysis using SPSS. Thematic technique was applied to analyze qualitative data. The results showed that 74% of the student respondents who attained D+ and below in their April 2019 exam attributed their low grades to parental alcoholism. Parental alcoholism is a symptom of other perceived or real problems in the social environment and risk factors associated with alcoholism could be multidimensional. The main conclusion drawn from the study is that parental alcoholism in Kandara Sub County is high and is a major contributor to poor academic performance in the study area. This calls for a rethinking of existing interventions and a paradigm shift from a one-angled approach to school based interventions towards a multipronged and holistic model of psychosocial support. The study will benefit school administrators, Government agencies, the Church and mental health care providers.
Keywords: Academic Performance, Adolescent Children, Learning by Observation, Parental Alcoholism, Second Generation beer.