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The study ascertained the influence of marital conflicts on academic performance of married students in the state owned tertiary institutions of Kaduna State. The specific objectives were five (5). A survey research design was adopted for the study; one thousand, six hundred and eighty two (1,682) was used as research population, three hundred and fifty (350) respondents were used as sample size. Five (5) null hypotheses were formulated. The research questionnaire was used as instrument for data collection which was validated through vetting and pilot study. Descriptive statistics of frequency distribution and mean were used to present the bio-data of the respondents; statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) using inferential statistic was used in answering the research questions, while pearman product moment correlation (PPMC) was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The data collected for this study were subjected to reliability test, using split half method, proportional random sampling techniques frequency and means. The reliability coefficient obtained from the instrument was 0.971 using PPMC values when compared with critical values that greatly exceeded the p- value which led to the rejection of all the null hypotheses. The findings revealed that significant relationship exist between marital conflicts and academic performance of married students. The findings also revealed that lack of sponsorship by spouse can influence poor concentration in academic activities of married students, open reprimanding of spouse in the presence of people around and high extent of marital pressure were equally observed as what influence academic performance of married students which has negative influence on married students academic performance, In the light of the findings, it was concluded that married students who are experiencing marital conflicts do not concentrate in academic work which influence poor academic performance and drop in cumulative grade point aggregate (CGPA) It was recommended that married students experiencing marital conflicts should develop positive coping strategies that would enhance their academic performance.



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;/, 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 statuesque.

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,


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