Social Dimensions of Marital Conflict in Kenya
Elijah Onyango Standslause Odhiambo, Thomas Leshan Maito

Data from FIDA (Kenya), Maendeleo ya Wanaume, Faith Based Organizations (FBO), Non Government Organizations (NGO) and media reports suggest that destructive marital conflict is on the increase in Kenya. This paper presents the findings of a study into marital conflict in Kenya using Anglican Diocese of Maseno North as a case study. Primary data for the study were collected through interviewing and a focus group discussion and this was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Destructive Marital conflict in the study area was perceived to be related to a wide array of factors which were grouped into five interrelated categories. These are: socio-economic factors, sociocultural factors, personal attribute of spouse, domestic family life factors and factors of structural inequality. Out of these groups the most important factors identified by respondents included the following: low income (money); disagreement over roles and responsibilities of spouses, irresponsible alcohol drinking, gambling and pilfering; maltreatment of children, step children and other relatives; interference from in-laws and other kin. The data indicated that psychological battering was common and employed by both spouses. About a third of females indicated they had been victims of physical abuse yet kept their abusive relationship because they were constrained by a network of social, cultural and economic barriers. Respondents’ perception of gender relations in society informed their relationship to the opposite sex and this they carried over into marriage to influence the marital conflict behaviour of spouses.

Full Text: PDF