Rotimi Samuel OLUKOYA, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ojere Abeokuta, Nigeria, ID CLEaR2017-446;     ABSTRACT: The increasing incidence of cultic behaviour (CB - violence, murder, alcoholism, drug abuse and dispute) among university students in southwestern, Nigeria has become a serious concern to parents, guardians, educators, management of tertiary institutions and government. The menace of CB remains indelible in the minds of the victims and members of the society. Empirical evidence on CB concentrated largely on social factors with little efforts on psychological variables. This study, therefore, investigated self-concept, self-efficacy, aggression, anger, drug abuse, parental and peer influences on CB among university students in the southwestern, Nigeria.

The study was anchored on social learning and cultism theories while, the descriptive research design of the ex-post facto type was adopted. Multi-stage sampling technique was used. Six universities (three federal and three states) Nigeria. (Obafemi Awolowo, Ile-Ife, University of Ibadan and Federal University Abeokuta) and three state universities (Olabisi Onabanjo Ago-Iwoye, Lagos State University, Ekiti State University) were purposively selected in southwestern states of Nigeria, because as at the time of preliminary studies, they have cultic tendency of 0.6 ranking. Proportionate random technique was used to select 1200 students from three federal (Obafemi Awolowo, Ile-Ife – 200, University of Ibadan  - 200, Federal University of Agriculture – 200) and three state (Olabisi Onabanjo Ago-Iwoye – 200, Lagos State University, Ojo – 200, Ekiti State University – 200) universities. The participants were males (56.2%) aged 21.4 0±2.47 years with 59.7% and 40.3% from federal and state universities respectively. The administrative officer of the students’ affairs division in each university was purposively selected for key informant interview (KII). Indepth interviews (IDI) were also conducted with the Presidents of the students’ union in the universities. Drug abuse (r=0.91); aggression (r=0.87); self-concept (r=0.87); self-esteem (r=0.85); self-efficacy (r=0.82); anger (r=0.82); parental influence (r=0.77); peer influence (r=0.76); and cultic behaviour (r=0.73), scales were used for data collection. Data were analysed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation and Multiple regression at 0.05 level of significance, while qualitative data were content analysed.

The incidence of CBs in the universities in 2014/2015 academic session were rape (28.92%); stealing (22.29%); disturbance of peace (15.66%); murder (10.84%); kidnapping (9.64%); arson (7.23%); and others (5.42%). Self-concept, self-esteem, drug abuse, anger, aggression, parental influence and peer influence jointly determined CB and accounted for 42.2% of its variance (F=82.01; R2=0.422). Parental influence (r=0.68); aggression (r=0.52); peer influence (r=0.44); anger (r=0.40); self-esteem (r=0.37); drug abuse (0.27) self-efficacy (r=0.24) had significant relationship with CB while, self-concept did not. Parental influence (β=0.49), aggression (β=0.11), peer influence (β=0.06), self-concept (β=-0.04) and self-esteem (β=0.02) had relative contributions on CB while, self-efficacy, anger and drug abuse did not. The students’ union leaders and university administrative staff posited that parental influence, peer influence, low self-concept and poor mentoring were critical factors for students’ involvement in cultic activities in southwestern universities, Nigeria. 

Low self-concept, self-esteem, aggression, parental influence and peer-influence precipitated cultic behaviour among university students in southwestern, Nigeria. Counselling psychologists and educational administrators should take cognisance of these variables while working on university students with cultic behaviour.

Keywords:     Cultic behaviour, university students in southwestern, Nigeria, Parental influence, Self-concept, Self-esteem, Southwestern, Nigeria.