International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Marital Instability and its Impact on Female-Headed Household Livelihoods in Machakos County, Kenya
Jackson M Musau, Prof. Leonard M Kisovi, Dr.Samuel C.J Otor

Marital instability is an emerging and increasing phenomenon in Kenyan societies. This study examined, the nature of marital instability among women in the rural areas, the major causes, and its impact on the femaleheaded household livelihoods. The study adapted a cross-sectional case study design and it involved women of the 15-49 age interval years who were separated, divorced or deserted by their husbands. The collected data were subjected to descriptive analysis, and inferential statistical analysis using Chi-square (χ2) test, correlation analysis, and logistic regression. Results indicate that, irresponsibility (74%) and infidelity (51.3%) were found to be the leading factors influencing marital instability. Violence (42.3%), alcoholism (38.7%), in-law problems (24%), unemployment (11%), age difference (10%), and polygamy (10%) were the other cited reasons. Most of the separated mothers are faced with challenges of achieving and maintaining their livelihood due to financial hardships. From the research findings, it was recommended that, there is need to sensitize the public about the causes and outcomes of family conflicts and to create livelihood opportunities and poverty reduction schemes for separated/divorced parents in the rural areas. These policies will improve livelihoods and reduce poverty especially among the affected female headed households in the rural area.

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