Relationship between Gender Roles and Marital Stability among Couples in Selected Counties of Kenya
There is increased evidence of marital conflict, instability, separation and divorce both globally and in Kenya. There is a possibility that this could be attributed to changes in perceptions and performance of gender roles by the partners in a marriage arising from the impact of global influences on family socialization processes. This study sought to explore the relationship between gender roles (perceptions and performances) and marital stability among couples in selected counties in Kenya. The study used a correlational research design and was guided by the Family Systems approach. The target population was 6.83 million couples in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu counties of Kenya. Multistage sampling that included stratified, convenient and purposive sampling was used to draw a sample of402couples for the study. Data was collected using researcher developed questionnaires measuring gender roles and marital stability. Feedback from the pilot study was used to strengthen the validity and reliability of the instruments. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse quantitative data. Spearman rank order correlation was used to determine the nature of the relationship between gender roles (perceptions and performance) and marital stability. The findings showed that there was a significant weak positive relationship between gender role perception and marital stability, rs(804) = .393, p< .05.Further, there was a significant moderate positive relationship between gender role performance and marital stability, rs(804) = .414, p<.05.These findings point to the need to incorporate gender role awareness into premarital and marital counselling by family counsellors and therapists as well as in the development of strategies by key stakeholders to strengthen marital stability among couples in Kenya.