Relationship between Alcoholism and Family Cohesion: A Gender Analysis of Kigio Location, Gatanga District, Kenya
Mwangi, Alice Wambui
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The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of alcoholism on family cohesion 111 selected households in Kigio Location in Gatanga District. The study sought to establish the effect of alcohol on family income as well as the relationship between parents alcohol intake and children's education levels and how it impacts on husband and wife-relationship in the family. The study further sought to establish the influence of alcohol on the distribution of resources in female headed and male headed households and finally the effect of alcohol on family stability. The study utilized a descriptive survey research design with a target population of 1790 parents. Utilizing simple random sampling procedures, 30 households were selected. A total of 179 subjects were selected to participate in the study. The study used a questionnaire and interview schedule to collect data. Before the data was analyzed, it was cleaned to remove outliers. Data was then coded and entered into the computer for analysis using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 11.5 for windows. Descriptive statistics i.c. frequencies and percentages were used to analyze quantitative data. The results are presented in form of tables and graphical illustrations. The study did find an association between parental alcohol involvement and the education or the children. Parental alcoholism had a negative impact on the education of the children as it may be contributing to the low education levels of the children. Most of the families were involved in subsistence farming with low returns and therefore were low income earners. !\ majority 60% of the households obtained an average income of Ksh 1000-5000.About 43% used about three quarters of the family income on alcohol. Alcohol therefore was found to deplete family income in a very signi ficant way. There were more fathers (70%) than mothers (30%) who stated that they were alcoholics. Alcohol abuse affected husband-wife relationships in a variety of ways including intimate partner violence, increased conflict and low relationship satisfaction, nagging, blame, complaints, emotional and physical abuse to majority wives of alcoholics, poor sexual relationship and guilt. Men controlled the valued resources in the family such as income, wealth land, and incomegenerating activities. Women had lesser access to paid employment, and were facing severe constraints in terms of ownership of resources. A relatively large degree of gender inequality in favor of men in resource distribution existed within households. There was impaired cohesion and low family stability in families of alcoholic parents as indicated by 37% responses. The findings of this study should form a basis for appropriate gender mitigation by key community development agencies such as non-governmental organizations, faith based organizations and the ministry of gender and sports. These bodies can use the data to inform policy and decision on proactive action for alcohol vulnerable groups.