Marital Stress and Married Working Women in Nigeria: the Role of Coping Strategies, Self-Concept and Educational Qualification

Anthonia C. Nwatu (Enugu State University of Science and Technology)

Article ID: 2545



In this 21st century a lot of women are experiencing martial challenges due to the various and important roles they perform in the home and in the society, which may require some psychological remedies. The study investigated the influence of coping strategies, self-concept and educational level on marital stress among married working women. The participants whose age ranged from 25 – 55 years with mean age of 40.63 and standard deviation of 7.59 were 377. They responded to three instruments. A 2 x 2 x 2 Analysis of Variance was used to analyze the data.  Thus, the results showed that married working women who adopted emotion-focused strategies presented less marital stress symptoms F (1, 369) = 4.44, p<. 05; those with higher educational level presented less marital stress symptoms F (1, 369) = 6.33, p<.05. The results also showed that there were significant interaction effects of coping strategies and self-concept F (1, 369) = 5.88, p<. 05; and self-concept and educational level F (1, 369) = 4.18 p<. 05. Based on the outcome of this study, it was recommended that married working women should strive for higher education and also use emotion-focused coping strategies in the face of marital stress.


Problem-focused Coping; Emotion-focused coping; Higher Educational Level; Lower Educational Level and Marital Stress symptoms.

Full Text:



[1] Moreira H, Crespo C, Pereira M, Canavarro M. C. Marital quality among women with breast cancer: The role of marital intimacy and quality of life. Psicooncologia. 2010, 7(7): 61-80.

[2] Karney, B. R., Bradbury, T. N. The longitudinal course of marital quality and stability: A review of theory, method, and research. Psychological Bulletin, 1995, 118: 3-34.

[3] Bodenmann, G., Ledermann, T., Bradbury, T. N. Stress, sex, and satisfaction in marriage. Personal Relationships, 2007, 14: 407-425.

[4] Hobfoll, S. E. Traumatic Stress: A theory based on rapid loss of resources. Anxiety Research, 1991, 4: 187-197.

[5] McCubbin, H. I., Patterson, J. M. The Family Stress Process: The Double ABCX Model of adjustment and adaptation. Marriage & Family Review, 1983, 6(1-2): 7- 7.

[6] Weiten, W., Lloyd, M. A. Psychology Applied to Modern Life (9th ed.). Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2008. ISBN: 0-495-55339-5

[7] Goffman, E. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor. Guilford, J. P. (1954). Psychometric Methods. New York: MacGrew Hill Book Coy, 1959.

[8] Peleg, O. Family therapy. American Journal of family therapy, 2008, 36(5): 288-401.

[9] Maesincero, S. Self-concept Theory. Retrieved 3rd August, 2012 from Experiment Resources, 2012. http://www.Experiment-resources-com/self-concept-ehtory.html

[10] Karney, B. R., Bradbury, T. N. The longitudinal course of marital quality and stability: A review of theory, method, and research. Psychological Bulletin, 1995, 118: 3-34.

[11] Karney, B. R., Story, L. B., Bradbury, T. N. Marriages in context: Interaction between chronic and acute stress among newlyweds. In T. A. Revenson, K. Kayser, G. Bodenmann (Eds.), Couples coping with stress: Emerging perspectives on dyadic oping, Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2005: 13-32..

[12] Erickson, E. H. Childhood and society (2nd ed) New York: Norton, 1963.

[13] Omeje, O. Marital Conflict, Coping Strategies, Age and Psychopathology among Battered Women in three Eastern Nigeria State, 2000.

[14] Cooley, C. H. Human Nature and the Social Order. New York: Scribners, 1902.

[15] Fiske, S. T. Interpersonal stratification: Status, power, and subordination. In S. T. Fiske, D. T. Gilbert, G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010: 941-982.

[16] Susan T. Fiske, S. T., Daniel T. Gilbert, D. T., Lindzey, G. John Wiley & Sons, 15 févr., 2010: 896.

[17] Lazarus, R. S., Folkman, S. Stress, Appraisal and Coping. New York (NY): Springer, 1984: 141.

[18] Lazarus, R. S. Psychological stress and coping processes. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966.

[19] Cox, T. Stress. Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1978.

[20] Weiss, J. M. Somatic effects of predictable and unpredictable shock. Psychosomatic Medicine, 1970, 32: 397-408.

[21] Weiss, J. M. Effects of coping behavior in different warning signal conditions on stress pathology in rats. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 1971a, 77: 1-13.

[22] Weiss, J. M. Effects of punishing the coping response (conflict) on stress pathology in rats. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 1971b, 77: 14-21.

[23] Henry, J. P., Stephens, P. M. Interaction (Transactional) Theories and Research - Models of Stress Theories of Stress, 1977.

[24] Neisser, U. Cognitive psychology. Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1967.

[25] Neisser, U. Cognition and reality: Principles and implications of cognitive psychology. W H Freeman/ Times Books/ Henry Holt & Co, 1976.

[26] McLaughlin, M., Cormier, L.S., Cormier, W. H. Relation between coping strategies and distress, stress, and marital adjustment in multiple role women. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1988, 35: 187-193.

[27] Oyewo, N.A., Akanbi, S.T. Marital stress spillover as a predictor of job performance among married civil servants in Oyo State, Nigeria. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2012, 14(10),

[28] Neff, L. A., Karney, B. R. How does context affect intimate relationships? Linking external stress and cognitive processes within marriage. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2004, 30: 134-148.

[29] Omeje, O. Marital Conflict, Coping Strategies, Age and Psychopathology among Battered Women in three Eastern Nigeria State, 2000.

[30] Carver, C.S. Assessing coping strategies (A relationship study). In Farah Khan and Sobia Aflab, 2013 Institute of clinical psychology, University of Karachi Pakistan. American Psychological Association inc. Journal of personality and social psychology, 1989, 56(2): 267-283.

[31] Davey, G.C.C., Burgess, L., Rashes, R. Coping strategies and phobias: The relationship between fears, phobias and method of coping with stressors. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1995, 34: 423 - 431.

[32] Mitchell, R. E., Cronkite, R. C., Moos, R. H. Stress, coping, and depression among married couples. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1983, 92(4): 433-448.

[33] Khan, F., Aflab, S. Self-esteem as the mediator between marital satisfaction and depression (a relationship study). International Conference on the modern Development of Humanities and Social Science (MDHSS), 2013: 285-287.

[34] Banu, A. The relationship between level of education and marital stress. Institute of Education and Research University of Rajshahi, Rajshali, Bangladesh. Beehr, M. & Newman, T. (1998) Consequences on Parental Divorce on Children’s Wellbeing, a marital analysis, Psychology Bulletin, 2007, 110(3): 26-46.

[35] Silverstone, P. H., Salsali, M. Low self-esteem and psychiatric patients: Part I-The relationship between low self-esteem and psychiatric diagnosis. Annals of General Psychiatry, 2003, 2(1): 2.

[36] Zahra .Y, Elham .N, Mojgan .S, Mohamad. K, Razeye. A. Relationships between self- esteem and marital satisfaction among women. Psychology and behavioral sciences. 2013, 2(3): 124-129.

[37] Swann, W. B., Jr., Hixon, J. G., De La Ronde, C. Embracing the bitter truth: Negative self-concepts and marital commitment. Psychological Science, 1992, 3: 118-121.

[38] Hashmi, H. A., Khurshid, M., Hassan, I. Marital Adjustment, Stress and Depression among working and non-working married women. Internet Journal of Medical Update 2007 Jan - Jun, 2006, 2(1): 19-26.

[39] Pothen, S. Divorce: its causes and consequences in Hindu society. New Delhi: Vikas Pub. House, 1996.

[40] US Bureau of the Census. Marriage, divorce, widowhood, and remarriage by family characters. Current Population Reports Series, 1977, 312(20).

[41] Oniye, O. A. A cross ethnic study of stress levels, support systems and adjustment strategies among level of educations in Nigeria. Unpublished Ph.D thesis Department of Education Guidance and Counseling, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, 2000

[42] Anim, M.T. A Study of Self-esteem as a Psychological Factor Influencing Marital Distress in Ghana. Ghana Journal of Education and Teaching, 2011, 12. (In press).

[43] Bumpass, L. L. Differences in marital stability. American Sociological Review, 1972, 37: 754-766.

[44] Houseknecht, S., Spanier, G. Marital discrepancies and higher education among women. US Sociological Quarterly, 1980, 2(3): 75-389.

[45] Quddus, A. H. The adjustment of couples who live apart: The case of Bangladesh. The Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 1992, 23(2): 92.

[46] Omoluabi, P.F. Psychological causes and remedies of single parenthood. Paper Presented at the First APQUEN Conference, Enugu, Nigeria, 1994.

[47] Moos, R., Cronkite, R. C., Finney, J. W. Health and Daily Living from Manual Social Ecology Laboratory, Veterans Administration and Stanford Medical Centers, 1990.

[48] Ezeilo, B. N. Cross cultural utility of the Tennessee self- concept scale. Psychological Reports, 1982, 51: 897-8.

[49] Omeje, O. Marital Conflict Behaviour Checklist. Unpublished manuscript, 1998.

[50] Vylie, R. The Self Concept Vol. 1. A Review of Methodological Considerations and Measuring Instruments. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1974.

[51] Guilford, J. P. Psychometric Methods. New York: MacGrew Hill Book Coy, 1954.


  • There are currently no refbacks.
Copyright © 2020 Tonia Chigozie Nwatu

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.