Determinants of Infidelity among Married Couples in Mwingi Central Constituency, Kitui County, Kenya
Kioko, Rachel Kasyoka
MetadataShow full item record
Infidelity impacts negatively on relationship functioning and stability of the marriages making the study of this phenomenon crucial and timely endeavor in the Mwingi Central Constituency (MCC). Although, many African communities have regulations against infidelity especially in marriage, many married couples are involved in extra marital affairs ((Drigotas, Safstrom, & Gentilia, 1999). Infidelity in MCC has led to marital strife leading to separations, wife battering, prostitution, children born from different fathers and the spread of HIV and AIDS. Therefore, the study sought to find out the determinants of infidelity among married couples in MCC. The objectives of the study were to; asses the knowledge and attitude of married couples in MCC on marital infidelity, find out the causes of infidelity among these married couples , investigate the challenges resulting from marital infidelity faced by married couples in MCC and evaluate the strategies used to address marital infidelity in MCC. The study was guided by two theories namely; evolutionary and the “double shot” hypothesis. The study used descriptive survey research design. The target population was the married couples in MCC. Stratified random sampling and purposive sampling techniques were used to select the sample of 265 respondents. Primary data was collected using questionnaires, Focused Group Discussion (FGDs) and Key Interview Informants (KIIs). Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics while qualitative data was analysed using content analysis that involves development of themes and codes. From the findings, sexual infidelity was rampant in MCC owing to; poverty, impotence, mistrust, sexual dissatisfaction, changing tastes and values, long term illness, working away from home, death of one partner, withdrawal from sex by one partner, separation, family wrangles, wealth, bareness/infertility, and cultural reasons. Other reasons included; wife inheritance; revengeful relationship, pregnancy; unsupportive spouses; superiority complex; Akamba culture favouring males, fantasies and moral decadence. Based on the findings the study noted that infidelity led to upsets of spouse due to parental investment and resources diversion, divorce, mental health problems, jealousy, separations, unwanted pregnancies and HIV, STIs, family disputes, loss of self-worth and social status. Strategies used to address marital infidelity in MCC included; spouse punishment, professional counseling,forgiveness-oriented approach, reconciliation, separation, community mobilization and sensitization through mass media, religious moral teachings, abolition of primitive cultural practices, marriage counselling, peer counseling, economic empowerment and education among others. The study recommends that chiefs’ barazas together with the women groups and NGOs to educate the community members on the negative implications of norms and values have on the sexual infidelity. The stakeholders should guide the members identify their gender needs and how to address them since they encourage marital infidelity in MCC. This is by creating economic activities depending on their needs and providing education to all to enable them to make informed decisions. Also, the local community leaders, NGOs and churches through chiefs’ barazas and women and men groups to sensitize the members on how to mitigate effects of infidelity in marriage in MCC. This is by abolition of discriminative ways like “mbingo”, wife beating and separation and advocate for involvement of women in committees used for resolving marital infidelity in MCC and have gender mainstreaming in all areas of development in MCC.