Project Topics



The study attempted to examine the influence of need satisfaction on proneness to stealing among students at University of Lagos. Some literatures were reviewed under relevant sub-headings.

The descriptive survey research design was employed in this study in order to assess the opinions of the selected respondents using the questionnaire and the sampling technique.

A total of 120 (one hundred and twenty) respondents were selected and used as sample of this study. Also three null hypotheses were formulated, tested and analysed using the independent t-test statistical tool and chi-square at 0.05 level of significance.

At the end of the analysis, the following results emerged:

1.       Hypothesis one found that there is a significant influence of need satisfaction on proneness to stealing among students in schools.

2.            Hypothesis two revealed that there is a significant difference in proneness to stealing among students who came from low socio-economic status homes.

3.            Hypothesis three indicated that there is no significant gender difference in proneness to stealing among students in schools.

4.            Finally, it was shown in hypothesis four that the ethnic backgrounds of students does not significantly influence their proneness to stealing in schools.

All the null hypothesis were tested at 0.05 level of significance.


1.1Introduction/Background to the Study

Discipline is defined in the dictionary of psychology as the control of conduct either by an external authority or by the individual himself (Drever, 1996).

Also Drever (1996) defined school discipline as the externally imposed or self-generated control of conduct to ensure its orderliness, social acceptability and conformity to the school regulations to guide the behaviour of the students and even the school staff.

Indiscipline is therefore presented by Adelabu (1990) as a problem behaviour or socially unacceptable behaviour which does not conform to the rules and regulations of the society or an institution.

Nwana (1975) investigated the types and intensity of offences in the Eastern State of Nigeria’s schools. He identified the following nine categories of indiscipline with percentage frequency of occurrence in parentheses:

Truancy (28.89), disobedience (15.22), drug abuse (13.95), assault and insult (12.18), dishonesty (11.6), wickedness (8.22), stealing (8.09), sex offences (1.66), strikes and mass demonstration (0.19).

Stealing, a frequent type of indiscipline carried out by students in our higher and lower institutions is like a parasite eating deep into the moral sanity of the youths. Stealing is very common among students at all educational levels be it in primary, secondary and tertiary, but more often than not such acts are treated or handled with levity as if they are normal. For example, students have pet names for stealing which tend to cover up and play down the real gravity of the offence. Such names include ‘pilfering’, ‘pick pocketing’, ‘tapping’ and so on (Olusakin, 1996).

According to the Webster reference dictionary, to steal means to take away dishonestly or wrongly especially secretly, to take, get or win by dishonest act or subtle means, to take, get or effect surreptitiously.

To take by surprise or without permission, with regard to the descriptions above, stealing in this content can be regarded as an act of taking somebody’s property secretly wrongly and unlawfully without his/her content (Uzodinma, 1998), so whatever name stealing is given by various individuals, stealing is stealing and it is bad in the society.

As Nkemdirim (2000) puts it, many people steal because of several reasons. There are people who steal because stealing also can be inherited from their parents, or blood relations, others do steal because they want to satisfy one need or the other. Most people steal in order to enrich themselves unduly, others steal because they want to satisfy their material needs while many steal because they associate with peers who are thieves or robbers. From any angle one view it stealing remains a wrong and undesired act which runs counter to the acceptable norms in any given society. It is a deviation from a normal behaviour and it is carried out by those who violate the norms, mores and positive values in the society.

According to Olusakin (1996), obsessive stealing is referred to as ‘kleptomania’ which could be described as a persistent neurotic impulse to steal, especially, without economic motive in which the object stolen is usually believed to have symbolic significance to the kleptomaniac.

Stealing is an act of students’ indiscipline and it is very negative in nature and if not checked and controlled, it could graduate into armed robbery which is presently a social malaise resulting in loss of precious lives and property. The case of stealing ought to be viewed with all amount of seriousness and could be seen as a paramount force drawing the hand of the nation’s developmental clock backwards socially, economically, politically and technologically.

Many people may agree that stealing is bad, for example, one person may base his belief on the deference to the law, another person may base it on the unthinking regard for his conscience, while the other may be concerned with conformity to the norms of his society, another may produce argument about the effect of stealing on the society.

From which-ever angle one views it, stealing is morally, socially and ethically wrong and ought to be discouraged and frown at by the decent people in the society (Anyanwu, 1990).

Uzomah (1999) claims that the socio-economic status of parents have speedily dwindled due to unemployment, retrenchment and lack of good environment to engage on profitable ventures. This trend has caused low socio-economic status of parents in many Nigerian homes.

This means that majority of students in tertiary institutions, especially, in University of Lagos (UNILAG) come from low or poor home background where parents could not afford to sponsor fully their adolescents educational career hence these adolescents resort to stealing to make ends meet and have what their parents could not provide for them in school. That is why most female students steal all manner of things ranging from underwears, brass, money, books, clothes, dresses, pomades, soaps etc that probably belong to their counter parts because their parents or guardians could not satisfy their wants by providing them those things they do not have.

Jimoh (1997), summarises it by saying that the most disturbing thing about the problem of stealing among students mostly, female ones, is that even though everyone seems to acknowledge that stealing is wrong and that many students engage in this act at various levels, no worthwhile solutions have been found to this burden some behavioural maladjustment in the society.

1.2Statement of the Problem

Stealing is taking away dishonestly and wrongfully, especially secretly, what belongs to someone else. The effect of stealing cannot be overemphasised.

Olusakin (1996) stated that the act of students’ indiscipline is very negative in nature and if not checked can result to armed robbery which is presently, a social malaise which results in loss of lives and property and often death or long jail terms in prison. Stealing is a burdensome problem that has effect on the moral, social, economic, political and technological development of the nation. This is because students who learnt how to steal in the school, go out and perpetrate the same evil attitude to the larger society thereby making it impossible for Nigeria as a nation to develop. For example the cases of brazen corruption and stealing in government circle are replete in our daily newspapers. Cases of government functionaries pilfering or stealing away from the commonwealth of the Nigerian nation lays credence to indiscipline and stealing which are learnt from youth, which become inherent behaviours to the perpetrator even when they become public servants or politicians.

1.3Purpose of the Study

The major purpose of this study is to examine the influence of need satisfaction on proneness to stealing among female students at University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos State.

The specific objectives of this study include finding out:

1.           Whether need satisfaction influences students’ proneness to stealing.

2.           Whether students who come from the low socio-economic backgrounds engage in stealing more than those who come from high socio-economic background.

3.           To identify the factors that cause students to steal in schools.

4.           To investigate whether there is gender difference in stealing among students.

5.           To find out whether the ethnic background of students influences their proneness to steal.

6.           To find out the remedies to stealing.

1.4Research Questions

The following research questions were raised in this study thus:

(1)        Will need satisfaction influence students’ proneness to stealing?

(2)        Are students who come from low socio economic background prone to stealing more than those who come from high socio-economic background?

(3)        To what extent can the factors that cause stealing be identified?

(4)        To what extent will ethic background of students influence their proneness to stealing?

(5)        Is there any gender difference in proneness to stealing among female students?

(6)        What are the possible solutions to the problems of stealing among female students?

1.5Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated in this study:

1.           There will be no significant influence of need satisfaction on students’ proneness to stealing.

2.           There will be no significant difference in proneness to stealing among students who come from low socio-economic status homes and those from high socio-economic status homes.

3.           There will be no significant gender difference in the proneness to commit stealing among female students.

4.           The ethnic backgrounds of students does not significantly influence their proneness to stealing in schools.

1.6Significance of the Study

This study will be beneficial to the following individuals in the society:

1.           Students Generally: Students especially the female ones would benefit from the findings and recommendations of this study because it will enable them to have greater insight into the effect of stealing or robbery on one’s life and future.

Female students will through this study, be able to identify those factors that cause one to steal and avoid them. It will avail them the opportunity of learning how not to steal. The recommendations arising from this study will help students especially, those who are prone to steal to avoid this inherent wrong habit in them.

2.           Teachers: Teachers would be able to learn through this study, the most appropriate ways to teach students on how to avoid stealing. The recommendations in this study will enable teachers to find possible solutions to the problems of stealing among female students.

3.           Parents: Parents would benefit immensely from this study as its recommendations will direct them on how to tackle the problems of stealing in their adolescent children/wards. This study will expose to parents the consequences of stealing. The ways to arrest the situation by identifying some factors which are possible causes of stealing among youths and even the adult members of the society.

4.           Counsellors: The counsellors in the schools would find this study very relevant as its recommendations would enable them to be more aware on the need to use counselling as a tool for remedying the stealing habits of adolescents in school. The school counsellors would apply the recommendations of this study as technique in counselling students to observe to overcome stealing as wrong habit.

5.           The Society: The society will not be left out in benefiting from this study. The society, new researchers and indeed students in all levels of our school system, especially the secondary and the post secondary levels will find this study relevant because it will serve them as a reference material.

1.7Scope of the Study

This study covers the influence of need satisfaction on proneness to stealing among female students in tertiary institutions particularly, the University of Lagos.

1.8Limitation of the Study

This study is limited to the influence of need satisfaction on proneness to stealing among female students at University of Lagos. This is because of limited availability of finance, time and other necessary logistics which may pose hindrance to the possible completion of the study.

1.9Definition of Terms

Operational terms used in this study were defined accordingly in this study.

Stealing: Any act of taking people’s things illegally and wrongly without the consent of the owner. It is an unlawful removal of the people’s properties without their permissions.

Kleptomaniac: The burning attitude of stealing even without economic goal or reason. This is a natural tendency to steal irrespective of the situation.

Proneness: This refers to the frequency at which an individual does something. This is the constant or frequent or continuous occurrence of an individual’s character or activity.