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OPERATIONAL DEFINATION OF TERMS
Marital conflict is disagreement or argument that arises from time to time and is
sometimes meant to settle disagreement in order to move forward towards better living.
Academic Performance: is an achievement which is seen in scores and grades in an
Commuter Marriage: is a marriage where one of the spouses travels regularly or stay in
another town due to nature of work.
Conflict: is a disagreement between two or more individuals. It can be said to be clash of
interest as well an emotional tension due to unmet needs.
Coping Strategies: managing of conflict and academic performance of the married students.
It involves defining the problems and generating solutions.
Influence: is an impression or a changed state occurring as a result of one’s action, it could
be seen as symptom, consequence, burden, events or outcome.
Marital Pressure: is the powerful and stressful demand on the married couple.
Marriage: is a legally recognized relationship, established by a civil or religious ceremony
between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners.
Performance: is the direct outcome of learning of students.
1.1 Background to the Study
Couples who have never argued or been in conflict in certain time of their
lives are not being honest with each other. Conflicts is defined as a struggle to resist
or overcome; contest of opposing forces or powers; strife; battle. A state or condition
of opposition; antagonism; discord. A painful tension set up by a clash between
opposed and contradictory impulses. No matter how one try to avoid it, conflict
periodically enter people lives. Conflicts occur among, spouses and family members.
Argument arises from time to time and is sometimes meant to settle disagreements in
order to move forward towards better living. Conflict could result in positive impact
in one’s life; however, when conflict arises for the wrong reasons and is not handled
with care it becomes more serious with negative impact on the victim and their
academic performance. Couples engage in conflicts more often due to economic,
sexual and power control. Couples tend to quarrel over money more often than other
things. For a marriage to last a life time there should be love and a steady romantic
relationship. While love is important, emotional maturity, shared values and interest
contribute to marital success.
Marriage is a relationship that functions on many levels. Marriage is an
intricate tapestry, which comprises of many strands woven and intermingled in a
special kind of way. That the function of the family which is the primary group in the
society is entrusted to parents for care and training of its future citizens. A well
nurtured family today, is a prosperous and clean world of tomorrow. It is also noted
that a disturbed family has no peace; is unorganized and cannot perform its function
effectively. Since the family is a group of individual set to achieve certain function
such as procreation, regulation of sexual behavior, economic support, and
socialization, the family should then be an agency for transmitting this cultural
heritage from one generation to another. This valuable institution is today faced with
multiple threats to its survival. One of the most dramatic and saddening trends in
family survival of recent times which has been on the increase is marital
dissatisfaction, marital conflicts and crisis. This is leading to numerous problems and
is pointing to decline in believe and family disorganization, bringing about numerous
societal ills. Olaitain and Akpan (2003) opined that marriage is said to be the bedrock
and foundation of family and society. Marriage is traditionally rooted in an
arrangement between families and not essentially between two individuals. Donald,
(1999) said that many other factors such as psycho-social, cultural and economic
problems make people to deviate significantly from the objectives of marriage.
Marriage therefore consistently calls for adjustment as the relationship can have either
positive or negative influence on the family. The researcher is of the view that, spouse
should only look at the positive aspect of each other and neglect the negative aspect.
This will go a long way in minimizing certain level of marital conflicts.
Academic performance can be referred to as achievement demonstrated, using
scores and grades on examination, test or assignments in an academic setting. The
results are used to determine the competence of students in a course over the
semesters. Anene, (2005), viewed students’ academic performance as an assessment
of students learning progress in task that is required of them. They are expected to
engage in activities which may include, manipulation of materials, problems solving,
demonstration of practical skills and participating in theoretical work. Donald, (2007)
viewed academic performance as an active demonstration that assess students
learning, such as; presentation, musical and dramatic performance.
When students demonstrate all these, it improves their learning and assimilation.
Swanson and Watson (1981) stated that assessment of academic performance has
three dimensions, meant for placement, planning and evaluation. The grades obtained
from the assessment also help in evaluating the progress of the instructors and the
instructional programs to verify whether there is progress on the entire program.
The researcher viewed marital conflict as inevitable aspect of life experience.
Understanding how it escalates goes a long way towards knowing how to use it as
advantage over the other person. Conflict occurs between two or more people who
disagree on certain issue that threatens their respective goal, values or needs. How
they participate in a disagreement perceive threat determines to a great extent how
heated the conflict can become. The researcher opined that, if there are many
resources and opportunities available within any social setting, it is not always
common for conflict to arise. On the contrary, when conflicts are handle effectively, it
may lead to interpersonal growth and create the change needed to improve
interpersonal relationship. The ultimate root of conflict happens when one perceived
something or someone is as a threat to your area of wellbeing. Threat typically
triggers emotional or psychological responses. When this happens, the ability to view
and approach the situation in an objective manner is hampered. This in turn, makes it
seem like there is a limited number of solutions to a particular problem. Once
perspective is hampered by emotion, communication becomes difficult. (Retrieved on
6/7/2011 http;/www.ehow.com/about, 4576718).
In recent years the rate of conflict among couples is on the increase on daily
basis. Martin (2000), stated that marital conflict occurs more often with couples who
were forcefully given out for marriage between the average ages of 17 and 25 years.
Martin further opined that about forty five (45) percent of the world population
marries before the age of forty five years. Martin also stated that there are over one
million conflicts yearly and nearly fifty percent (50%) of all marriages now end in
conflicts resulting to divorce or separation. For the fact that many people marry before
they are ready and for obviously wrong reasons, best known to them, without
developing emotional maturity and strong love, most marriages is cracking, leading to
separation and divorce
Martin, (2000) said that couple should try to know each other well and should
see each other at their best and worst conditions. Martin (2000) further added that
faulty marriages are some of the common causes of conflicts and friction among
couples, that is, a wealthy man or woman getting married without proper courtship
and after a very short time of marriage couples are separated or divorce due to
incompatibility. This as well will eventually aggravate marital conflict which might
influence married student’s academic performance and their self esteem. Morrison
and Charlie (1995) opined that marital conflict is associated with a variety of
indicators such as poor conduct disorders, anxiety and aggression.
Exposure to marital conflict might influence married student directly or
indirectly through its effect on their academics. Emery (1982), El- sheikh, ( 1989) and
Jekielek (1998) opined that the effects of married student’s conflicts can be more
harmful to their academic performance as well as their social behaviors. Morrison
(1995) also expressed that high-conflict couples had significantly poorer adjustment
in school than those in low-conflict families. Married students from high conflict
family have lower self esteem and greater anxiety.
The researcher remarked that the most prevalent type of marital conflicts are
mostly based on unmet needs, money, power struggle, sexual problems, infidelity and
in-law problems. Marital conflict can lead to mental instability and family
disorganization resulting to lots of social ills. Crisis and conflicts in marriages produce
discord and reduces affection among couples leading to divorce and separation and
total dissolution of the family system, with an influence on academic performance.
Moral decadence, depression is a major impact that results to crisis among
married couples. Gradual degeneration, of traditional system of marriage,
disintegrations and commuter marriage system has made marital conflict to be on the
increase. Escalating marital conflicts and crisis can lead the nation of its capability to
posses’ responsible citizens with poor educational performance. This implies that there
will be deteriorations in the caliber of citizens with every new generation. The nation
will be full of selfish, self conceited individuals. There will be continued national
instability due to unstable personalities. There will be national disintegration and
eminent collapse in marriage if the family system is not addressed and refocused to its
Spinner and Ortese, (1998) explained that couples who are always in conflict
tend to have psychopathic behavior, emotional imbalance, mentally disturbed and poor
retentive memory. Cumming (2002), explained that couples from conflict free family
tend to contribute immensely to the society through their high level of productivity
within and in their places of work.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Marriage before the 20th century was bonded with traditional rites and taboos.
Kolo, (2011), views marital vows such as to love, cherish and honor as declining due to the
love of money, freedom, struggle for power control, poor communication, lack of
preparedness or lack of proper diagnosis and treatment of the problem. Due to this decline,
these marital vows are now replaced with social ills such as, disaster, poor development, and
lack of involvement, appreciation, understanding, companionship, support, attraction,
forgiveness on poor sexual relationship. However, recent marriages seem to tied under
competitive corporate economy world, where most couples go out to look for daily bread
with no one to stay and look after the home as it was the case in those days.
Marital conflicts arise among couples due to economic, power control, lack of
preparedness, sexual satisfaction, and poor communication among other reasons. Kolo,
(2011), further opined that Marriage is commonly defined as a partnership between two
members of the opposite sex, known as husband and wife. Scholars who study human culture
and society disagree on whether marriage can be universally defined. The usual roles and
responsibilities of the husband and wife includes living together, having sexual relations only
with one another, sharing economic resources, and being recognized as the parents of their
children. However, unconventional forms of marriage that do not include these elements do
exist. Marriage involves an emotional and sexual relationship between particular human
beings. Marriage connects two families in a complicated set of property exchanges involving
land, Labor and other resources. The extended family and society also share an interest in the
children the couples may have.
In the past, students’ performance was very encouraging irrespective of family
background, married or unmarried, because marital conflicts were controlled through the
intervention of relatives. This is due to the fact that most couples were living in close
proximity with their relatives, they were been checkmate whenever they do something wrong.
But in recent years due to increase in acquisition of knowledge, urbanization and struggling
to make earn meets by spouse, they no longer live in close proximity with relations and as
such no relation seem to know when spouse are having any form of marital conflict , hence,
they cannot be cautioned.
Testimonies of married students’ personal experience are narrated below:
The married student was studying in a College of Education but was always in
conflict with her spouse, they were not communicating with each other, their children were
used as mail children whenever there is an issue or message to pass to the other partner. The
student’s programme adviser noticed that the student’s performance was getting lower on
semester basis, the college Guidance Counselor along with the programme adviser met with
the affected student and she was able to narrate the problem she was facing with her spouse.
This however seems likely that marital conflict she was faced with affected her academic
performance. However, it seems that the marital conflict this student was faced with
contributed to her lower academic performance.
Furthermore, another testimony of a married student who was studying in a tertiary
institution is narrated below; the married student’s picked her younger sister from their
mother to live with her when she was six years old then. This younger sister of the married
student was age 19 when the married student decided to live in order to further her study,
living the sister to stay and take care of the children while she is away. Information was
reaching to the married student, that her younger sister whom she left to take care of her
children while in the institution pursuing her study, do go for weekend with her husband
leaving the children under the mercy of God. She only believed the story when both her
husband and her younger sister were travelling out of the town as usual to enjoy themselves,
had accident and were admitted for months before they regained their health back. The
married student after the incident began to secure lower grade in test, assignment and
examination, and her cumulative grade point aggregate (C G P A) began to drop drastically.
It was after series of counseling, the married student regained herself academically
emotionally and socially, although she could not perform better as she was always known to
In line with these multiple pressure faced with by married students, Mark (2010)
research work, revealed that married students are also faced with combined academic and
family responsibilities and each of these activities have to be attended to. These multiple
challenges led married students not to attend to lectures, because some of them have jobs,
children to care for, there are unmet needs that need urgent attention, some married student
come late for lectures, some of them come for test or examinations with babies on their back,
some submitting assignment very late, irregularity in attending lectures. All these are multiple
pressure that can affect concentration and temperament which alone can result to marital
conflicts aside other factors.
It is against this backdrop, this study seeks to investigate the influence of marital
conflict on academic performance of married students in the state owned tertiary institutions
of Kaduna State. Although Mark (2010) work seem to record high rate of marital conflict
(67%) in United State of America. however, Nigeria has no accurate statistical data base of
families with marital conflicts, and it seem little or no study on marital conflict on academic
performance of married students have been carried out in the state owned tertiary institution
of Kaduna State.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to determine the influence of marital
conflict on the married students’ academic performance in the state owned tertiary
institutions of Kaduna State.
The specific objectives are to:-
1. identify the possible major causes of common marital conflicts among married
students experiencing conflict, in State Owned tertiary institutions of Kaduna
2. determine the extent in which marital pressure influence married students
academic performance in State owned tertiary institutions of Kaduna State.
3. identify the frequency in which marital conflict influence married students’
academics in the state owned tertiary institutions of Kaduna State.
4. determine the level of frequency in which marital conflict may interferes with
married students’ academic performance in State Owned Tertiary Institutions
of Kaduna State.
5. identify the coping strategies employed, by married students, towards the
enhancement of their academic performance, in State Owned tertiary
institutions of Kaduna state.
1.4 Research Questions
This study answered the following research questions:
1. What are the major possible causes of marital conflicts among married
students experiencing conflict, in the state owned tertiary institutions of
2. To what extent does marital pressure influence married students’ academic
3. What are the frequencies in which marital conflict influence the married
students’ academic performance?
4. What are the level of frequency in which marital conflict interfere with the
married students’ academic performance?
5. What are the coping strategies employed by married students towards their
academic performance in the states owned tertiary institutions of Kaduna
1.5 Research Null Hypotheses
The study tested the following null hypotheses:
Academic performance of married students in State owned tertiary institutions of Kaduna
HO The intensity of marital pressure due to marital conflict will not significantly affect
academic performance of married students experiencing marital conflict in state owned
tertiary institutions of Kaduna State.
HO There is no significant relationship between frequency of marital conflict and academic
performance of married students experiencing marital conflict.
HO The influence of marital conflicts will not significantly influence married students
experiencing marital conflicts and their academic performance.
HO There is no significant relationship between married student’s marital conflict and
coping strategies employed towards the enhancement of their academic performance in State
Owned tertiary institutions of Kaduna State.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study will be useful to married students in tertiary institutions of learning,
on the need for a conflict free home, reducing marital pressure, finding positive means
of coping with conflict and academies, developing positive emotional maturity,
spouse to be supportive, show love, patience and proper communication in the family,
in order to enhance qualitative academic performance, especially on those couples
that always engage in conflicts. The findings of this study will be of great benefit to
married couples in improving and minimizing conflicts in the home especially those
married students experiencing marital conflicts in State owned tertiary institutions of
Kaduna State. The study will also be useful to the communities and Kaduna State
government on the need to educate spouse on the preventive measures of conflicts in
order to have responsible citizens and effective productivity in the state labor market,
hence qualitative education is the bedrock of any society.
The study will be significant to married students because they will be able to
identify the importance of strong emotional feelings, maturity and agape love in order
for marriages to last. The study will be useful to couples because they will be able to
understand the implication of conflicts on their academic performance and the effect it
has on their emotional well being. The study will be useful to couples and the
communities on the need to educate couples on the preventive measures of conflicts
especially those couples that engaged in conflicts even in the presence of their
1.7 Assumptions of the Study
For this study, it is assumed that;
1. Married students do not know the implications of marital conflicts on their
academic performance in State owned tertiary institutions of Kaduna State.
2. Married Students cannot cope with their academic work when there is conflict
in the family.
3. Frequent level of conflicts has greater negative effect on the married students’
4. It is assumed that high rate of marital pressure due to marital conflict does not
influence married students’ academic performance.
5. It is assumed that, developing positive coping strategies to be employed by
married students will enhance their academic performance.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
The study focus on influence of marital conflict on academic performance of
married students in state owned tertiary institution of Kaduna State. Who were
married before securing admission into these institutions .This is because the
researcher feels with these group of students, more useful information will be obtain ,
especially those students that may be affected by the problem of marital conflicts on
their academic performance. The study was delimited and cover areas of marital
conflicts such as economic, sexual, power control, children issues communication
among other areas, and how these may interfere with the married students academic
performance in tertiary institutions within the three zones, with reference to all the
State owned tertiary institution in the zones namely; Kaduna State College of
Education Gidan waya, College of Nursing Kafanchan, Kaduna State University,
Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic Zaria and Shehu Idris College of Health Technology
Makarfi respectively. The researcher used married students in these tertiary
institutions as the target population, due to the fact that married students seem to
constitute higher percentage in the state owned tertiary institutions, compared with
students at the federal institutions within the state.
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