PROJECT TOPIC- CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF PREMARITAL COHABITATION AMONG UNDERGRADUATES OF EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY ABAKALIKI
This research work was designed to examine the Causes and Effects of Premarital Cohabitation among Undergraduates of Ebonyi State University Abakaliki.Four research questions were posed that guided the study. The researcher adopted a descriptive survey research design in carrying out this study. The population for the study comprised of 361 students ranging from 200 level to 300 level in the Department of Arts and Social Sciences Education. The entire population was used as the sample size of the study. Structured questionnaire were used as an instrument for data collection. Statistical mean (X) was used to analyze the data collected. Findings among other things revealed that; economic factors, psychological factor, social factors are factors associated with premarital cohabitation and that unwanted pregnancy, emotional break imbalance, HIV and AIDs are the consequence of premarital cohabitation. From the findings it was recommended that: Parents should be able to provide the needs of their children both academically, and otherwise, this will enable the children to participate effectively with their follow counterparts, government at all levels should implement Sex education as a subject right from secondary school syllabus to tertiary and school management control should the mode of students address and peer association in the school environment. Conclusions and suggestions further studies were drawn.
Background to the Study
Consortium in marriage is an integral part of conjugal relationship. Each spouse has the right to others consortium (Scrutton, 2001). It is both a social and legal right for spouses to demand this duty from each other. The obligation to cohabit, therefore, is a primary incident of consortium. Traditionally, consortium in marriage describes the right to live together as husband and wife with all the incidents that flow from the relationship.
But we are living through a period of radical change with its great demands on conjugal relationships that is been felt than ever before, (Campbell, 2008). The influence of the modern time appears obvious on every aspect of marriage and the family life. Modifications of conventional cultures in marriage institution continue to be evident in both premarital and post marriage relationships of the couples towards the end of the last century.
But many individual preferred premarital cohabitation before marriage, (Thaibat, 2010). Cohabitation is simply an act of a man and woman living together and having a sexual relationship without being married, (Thaibat, 2010). This growing trend is gradually eroding the ‘near absent’ level of morality among the youths. Cohabitation is an arrangement where two people who are not married live together. In aspect of students, campus cohabitation involving a boy and a girl dating seems to be a popular but worrisome concept in our society.
In the words of Glezer (1999), premarital cohabitation is an informal marriage, a de-facto relationship, living together or „shaking up‟; choose whatever term you like to describe what in Western societies has been a growing phenomenon more than two decades ago. It is a situation where unmarried people live together like husband and wife to test their compatibility before the actual marriage.
Many components of marriage are thus noticeable among cohabiting partners; which include sharing of homes, responding to some matrimonial duties, engaging in intimate sexual relationship, sharing of economic resources, and sometimes bearing of children, (Ogunsola, 2004).
Cohabitation results in two independent people, almost like roommates, who have sex, instead of a commitment to one another for the rest of their lives (Rena, 2006). This pattern sees male and female student renting and residing in the same apartment as though they were married. They do all manner of domestic activities together like bathing together, cooking together, taking joint decisions, sleeping together and in some cases, operate a joint account.
Most of all these are done without their parents knowledge, (Rena, 2006). Marriages frequently started to be supplanted by cohabitation that often ends in divorce in one-third of the time, and where three-quarters of the breakups are always requested by the woman. In recent times, the young adults seem to begin to consider premarital cohabitation as a substitute to marriage, (Campbell 2008).
Premarital cohabitation also known as trial marriage, has now become a common phenomenon in the modern time. Rating this practice as a major threat to marriage and family life. Rena (2006) asserted that today’s society is not broken yet, despite scaremongering statistics about increases in the rate of cohabitation over marriage, and of divorce. Nigerians are relatively conservative when it comes to the need to extol cultural values on marriage.
The non-static process of acculturation occasioned by the influx of the Western culture, however, appears to exerting its powerful influence on marriage cultures in Africa. Soyinka (1999) reportedthat the model patterns of sexual behaviour in Africa especially, among Nigerian university students and where premarital cohabitation was found to be common, in turned to hinder students’ academic performance.
The rise in premarital sex in Africa has resulted from a sexual revolution that came with Western culture, (Alo and Akinde, 2010).Premarital cohabitation as one of the factors engineering the illicit sexual behaviours of the Nigerian respondents. As a matter of facts, premarital cohabitation has been observed and reported as a common phenomenon among Nigerian University undergraduates (Alo & Akinde, 2010).
Ogunsola (2004) similarly states that in Oyo State of Nigeria, some the couples investigated lived together before marriage to try if they were compatible. Premarital cohabitation, therefore, is one of the cultural dilemmas in Nigerian society that Nwagwu (2009) affirms marriage is facing. Consequently, it has now become an open reality that some Nigerian bachelors and spinsters agree to premarital cohabitation to checkmate how compatible they are before the actual marriage consummation.
On the other hand, Van, (2007)sees economic factor as a cause of Premarital cohabitation, he indicated that students from lower income families are more likely to having sexual intercourse regardless of the family structure or race. He further pointed out that teenagers from single parent family homes are more likely to having sexual intercourse regardless of the income of the family in combinations with the high rate of school fees in the present school system in Nigeria.
These have exposed girls to sexual intercourse in order to make ways out to solved their problems of school fees in the school. This act at times occurred as a result of poor family background. Van further indicated that substance abuse was long recognized as one of the greatest health and social problems which resulted in teenage pregnancies because teenagers engaged in sexual intercourse without making calculated decisions due to the influence of alcohol.
Added to the risk of being born by teenage mother, there also exist other associated risks for babies born into an environment that lacks life’s basic needs. Baby and mother usually stand disadvantaged and handicapped in day to day living. Teenage mothers are typically depicted as inadequate parents. BuchHoiz, (2003) asserted that children are thought to be a significant risk for maltreatments.
However the degree of risk to children teenage parents may be well determined by the financial, social and emotional stresses these families face. The critical factor being the availability of resources which offer support and encouragement. In recognition of the identified problems of premarital cohabitation and early motherhood, there are many welfare programmes and services available to pregnant adolescent in most of the developed countries.
Family welfare programmes are considered as a set of measures formulated at the executive level to provide concrete support and services for the advancement of groups and individuals in order to bring about social change, family programmes concern; social security, social assistance, health family planning, education welfare services food and nutrition, (Nwachukwu, 2009). The form and content of a programme as well as its organization and administration depends on the culture and history of a given country including its values, customs and social structure as well as its resources and awareness.
The concept of social health emanated from the multifaceted view of health which according to world health organization is a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being of an individual and not merely the absence of disease or infirmities. Man is well known to be a social animal and therefore lives by interacting with his fellow human beings, (Chijioke, 2010). Similarly, Oguguo (2004) observed that man’s nature, which cannot be effectively fulfilled without inter and intra relationship has equally created some social problems ranging from hatred to others, bred and natured by the so called jet age.
Nwachukwu (2009) identified premarital cohabitation, alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual promiscuity among others as social health problems which are usually associated with the adolescents. Chauhan (1999) asserted that development is a continuous process, which begins from time of conception in the womb of the mother and continues till death. However, that period of life that lies between the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood is termed adolescence.
Njoku (2008) pointed that adolescent is that span of years during which boys and girls move from childhood to adulthood, mentally, emotionally, socially and physically. The period varies in length from culture to culture and includes the teenage years. During the adolescent years which spans between the ages of twelve and twenty years in Nigeria most teenage experience a period of very rapid growth the adolescent growth spurt, (Ene and Nnamani, 2000).
This growth is accompanied by the development of reproductive organs and such secondary sex characteristics as breast enlargement in girls, beards in boys and appearance of pubic hairs generally. These changes culminated in puberty marked by the development of sperm cells in boys ovum and subsequent menstruation in girls. The bodily changes that accompany sexual maturity are a source of both pride and embarrassment in the adolescent.
Ajiboye (2007) remarked that adolescent is a period when the youngsters develop heterosexual feelings. This sort of feeling many lead the youngsters to develop passionate affection for others. This may be attributed to why adolescents want to go out, engage in social activities, attend church services and carryout all sorts of personal exhibitions of themselves. Such teenage social interactions tend to create an atmosphere for personal affection, love which may even result in sexual intercourse.
The sex hormones already in their blood streams constitutes a powerful force, which generates the sex drives and craving in them. Sex is one area in which impulse most frequently conflict with moral standard and violation of these standards may generates strong feelings of guilt. This is especially so, if it results in an illegitimate pregnancy in a teenager. But in traditional Nigeria setting, sex is regarded as being very personal and exclusive, and any careless reference to it without caution, both in words or deed is deemed immoral and irresponsible, (Nwachukwu, 2009).
Thus there is an apparent silent ban on the direct reference to sex. Consequently girls should abstained from pre-marital sex for it was a virtue for both the bride and the groom to be innocent of sexual acts until after wedlock. Christianity also extended this restrictive attitude towards sexual expressions and participation. Nnadi (2003) reported that schools were built and managed by missionaries who imposed very stringent codes of conduct on heterosexual activities.
The mission was aimed at preventing children from knowledge of any type of sex activities which was collectively regarded as acts of immorality and sin against God, (Nnadi, 2003). The situation however changed remarkably after the civil war with the take over of schools by the federal and state government of Nigeria. Many co-educational institutions were established such that teenage males and females had more opportunities to interact with one another (Nnadi, 2003).
It is worthy of note that prior to this era, the western world had adopted radically liberated social attitude towards sex, (Ngwu, 2005). He observed that sexual intercourse has become glorified and commercialized and all types of behaviour such a nudity, homosexuality and premarital sex recklessly and publicly expressed with impunity. Consequently, Ngwu reported that there are almost legalized pornographic magazines, blue firms and romantic novels among others.
These could be however the reason why Okoro (2010) observed that effects of civil war, establishment of corresponding viability of satisfactory knowledge and acceptable use of birth control methods heightened the incidence of Premarital cohabitation, abortions, veneral diseases, drug additions, promiscuity and other social health problems. Onyia (2000) had earlier reported that the pregnant teenager is usually maladjusted because she feels that she has committed a crime, consequently, she feels ashamed, guilty not always accepted by peers, parents, relatives and even to a considerate extent by the society.
Singh (2010) stated that the normal tendency of adolescents is to engage in impulsive behavior, simply by reason of their developmental stage and lack of knowledge at the particular period. This act, further facilitate the risk of sexual activities. Students who mostly involved themselves in premarital cohabitation do that a result of lack of knowledge and some controversial factors such as economics, social and psychological factors.
Notwithstanding, the increase in population of undergraduate students and the inability of the government to adequately provide the needed social infrastructures and funding of higher education in Nigeria has led to risky coping mechanisms among the students. Government policy on students’ hostel accommodation that is encouraging private developers may have its good side but it has been observed that, the inability of the institutions in expanding and building new hostels has forced several students to look outward for accommodation.
This constraint of hostel accommodation within the universities has led to a deviant form of cohabitation known as “campus marriage” among students. A situation where students of opposite sex are forced to live together and share things in common without any traditional or legal authorization portends danger to the sanctification of the institution of marriage and family, (Ogadimma, 2013).
It is against the norms and values of our society to allow young and unmarried couple to live together especially where they do not have any family affinity. Most students that live together do not allow their parents to know about it. This therefore exposes the students to all forms of risk and harm as they continue to cohabit. Students who live together with their partners lack both family and the university’s protection and support, (Chukwubueze, 2013).
So they are vulnerable and susceptible to attack and abuse by both outsiders and even their partners. Often times the society frowns at unmarried adults cohabiting within the society without paying adequate attention to the consequences of undergraduate students living together in the same society, ( Ogadimma, 2013) Most institutions make laws to control indecent dressing among students without paying attention to cohabitation among them.
Cohabitation has inevitably come to stay with all its supposed positive and negative consequences. As this may lead to giving birth to unwanted babies that were not planned for and all the consequences that come with it including a threatened academic pursuit.Based on this, the study therefore examine the effect and causes of premarital cohabitation among students of Ebonyi State University.
PROJECT TOPIC- CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF PREMARITAL COHABITATION AMONG UNDERGRADUATES OF EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY ABAKALIKI
Statement of Problem
The participants in a cohabitation setting are not immune from the various problems that besiege it. Problems such as sacrificing of the primary aim of being in school, unwanted pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptive by female students and the danger inherent in such practices, sharing of domestic chores among others. Financial involvement can also bring the unit into serious conflict. The multi-dimensional consequences facing cohabiters are quite numerous.
One of the consequences is unprotected sex and its attendant effects such as unwanted pregnancies and other sexually transmitted diseases. These diseases can also affect the financial positions of the cohabiters therefore affecting other aspects like education. There are other educational consequences associated with cohabitation. Economic problems have been identified as one of the challenges currently plaguing cohabiting relationships among students.
This has manifested in the form of greed on the part of the partners and a strong unwillingness to be committed financially. Health dimension aspect of the problem is worrisome. Cohabiting students will most likely engage in unprotected sex which could result sexually transmitted infections and the much dreaded HIV/AIDS disease (Ogunsola,2004), This practice of cohabiting has serious health issue to the female students that may indulge in the use of oral contraceptive in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy that may lead to truncated educational aspirations.
But when pregnancy does occur, sometimes, the female student is more like to seek abortion as a way out. This practice of seeking for abortion may lead to another problem of exposing the female students to quack doctors who are not licensed practitioners and this may result in a whole of health complications with serious negative spillover effects in the long run. However, some students may frown at abortion and or not even have the money to execute it. This may lead to giving birth to unwanted babies that were not planned for and all the consequences that come with it including a threatened academic pursuit. This study therefore examine the effect and causes of premarital cohabitation among students of Ebonyi State University.
Purpose of Study
The major purpose of this study is to examine the causes and effect of premarital cohabitation among undergraduates of Ebonyi State University. Specifically, this study will examine:
- Economic factors associated with premarital cohabitation among students in Ebonyi StateUniversity Abakaliki
- The psychological factors associated with premarital cohabitation in Ebonyi State University Abakaliki
- The Social factors associated with premarital cohabitation among undergraduates of Ebonyi StateUniversity Abakaliki
- The consequences of Premarital cohabitation among students in Ebonyi State University Abakaliki
Significance of the Study
This research would be of immense significance tothe government,school administrators, the students as well as the researchers.
The findings generated by this study would help the government to use all available resources to organize a programs to educate both parents and the youths on needs and importance of sex education. This program will go a long way to discourage premarital cohabitation among the youths, which will in turn, stand to develop the youths and make them to be useful to the society at large.
This will help school administrators to know the economic (monetary) needs of their students and communicate same to the parents on their economic responsibilities towards educational pursue of their children especially those in tertiary institutions as the case study. Through the findings of this study the school administrators will be motivated to provide a large hostel for the students based on their differences in sex.
Furthermore, the findings of this study will help the social workers in the area of counselling to know the absolute counseling activities and techniques needed to adopt for the benefit of the students in order to reasons and the bad effects of premarital cohabitation among undergraduate.
The study will be of interest to the students who are the future of the nation, because the study of this nature will expose them to the bad implication of Premarital cohabitation and this will motivate them to see reasons of studying. And forsake anything like distraction among their peers.
This study is of great benefit to researchers from different fields as the content of this study will serve as a reference material to researches in related areas.
Scope of the Study
This study was delimited to undergraduates students in Ebonyi State University Abakaliki. The contents covered: the concept of premarital cohabitation, social factors, economic factors and psychological factor of premarital cohabitation and consequences.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
- What are the economic factors associated with premarital cohabitation among undergraduate students in Ebonyi State University Abakaliki?
- What are the psychological factors associated with premarital cohabitation in Ebonyi State University Abakaliki?
- What are the Social factors associated with premarital cohabitation in among undergraduate students of Ebonyi State University Abakaliki?
What are the consequences of premarital cohabitation undergraduate students in Ebonyi State University Abakaliki?