Causes of Close Relationship Breakups and Coping Strategies among Secondary School Students in Mombasa County, Kenya
Akida Munyi, Mwanaidi
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In light of the brief span of close relationships in teenage, breakups are very frequent and recurrent during adolescence. A greater challenge is that these teenagers may have a major challenge in coping with breakup of long and short term relationships. The purpose of this study was to undertake an investigation of teenager’s perception of the causes of close relationship breakups and coping strategies used by secondary schools students in Mombasa County, Kenya. The specific objectives were to establish the causes of close relationship breakups among teenagers in Mombasa County, to identify the coping strategies teenagers employ after a close relationship breakup in Mombasa County, to assess the gender differences in perception of causes of close relationship breakups and coping strategies among teenagers in Mombasa County and to propose necessary interventions on close relationship breakup among teenagers in Mombasa County. The study was grounded on the need to belong theory. This study adopted a cross sectional survey design. The study comprised of all the 10, 043 teenagers aged from 13 to 19 years in the 11 secondary schools both public and private and 11 teachers in Mvita Sub-County in Mombasa County. Stratified and simple random sampling techniques were then used to choose the sample. A sample of 93 students was selected from the three schools and one counselling teacher from each of the selected schools was selected for the study. The instruments used in the study were questionnaire and an interview guide to collect primary data for the study. To ensure content validity, experts at Kenyatta University, Department of Psychology reviewed the questionnaire. To establish reliability, Cronbach’s alpha for all the items under causes of close relationship breakups coping strategies for breakups and gender perceptions were all above 0.7 implying that the instrument was sufficiently reliable for measurement. Analysis of qualitative data was done by content analysis while the quantitative data was coded and entered into SPSS to produce frequencies and percentages. The study findings indicated that the major reason that led to close relationship break up was the affiliation related factors with 89.12% followed by the autonomy related factors with 88.7%. The intimacy related factors as a cause of relationship break up was at 84.68% while the sexuality related factors as a cause of relationship break up was the least with 80%. The findings indicated that majority of the male students (73.3%) indicated that boys react and cope differently to close relationship break ups. Majority of the female respondents (75%) indicated that girls are more affected than boys. The girls express their feelings more openly than boys Majority of the respondents indicated that they coped using quietness, withdrawal and feelings of anger. The study recommends that school administration should ensure counseling to all students to offer needed support to those students experiencing close relationship breakups. The study recommends that the school programs should include the gender based counselling on teenage relationships to educate them on healthy relationships.