INFLUENCE OF THE PRESENCE OF A CHILD WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY ON MARITAL STABILITY IN SOUTH-WEST NIGERIA
Marriages that are able to produce children are considered fruitful in Nigeria, and most often this determines the stability of such marriages. In Nigeria, it was observed that when a child is born with a disability, there is the tendency for the home to experience low level of instability. This study investigated the influence of the presence of a child with intellectual disability on marital stability in Nigeria. One hundred and five (105) parents of children with intellectual disability purposively selected from Lagos and Ibadan, Nigeria, participated in the study. A structured questionnaire developed by the researchers was used in collecting data. The findings showed that the majority of the parents (65.7%) were overwhelmingly shattered and (81.9%) were in a state of shock at the initial discovery of the child with intellectual disability, this however, surprisingly, did not affect their marital stability, rather, it further brought them closely together. The study also revealed that the siblings of the child with ID (75.2%) accepted and loved them which further strengthened the relationship, and as high as 85.0% of parents in-laws were not for separation or divorce of the couples. Howbeit, 45.7% of parent’s in-laws did not support the couples psychologically and emotionally. Educating parents on factors that can be responsible for having a child with intellectual disabilities and parental counseling should therefore be encouraged so that preventive measures can be taken and families can maximally enjoy marital stability without much stress.
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