Parental perception of girl-child early marriage amongst the Urhobos in Nigeria

Emmanuel A. Agege, Ezekiel U. Nwose, Stella Odjimogho


Background: This study was on the parental perception of early marriage amongst the Urhobos in the Central District of Delta State. World Health Organization (2013) defined early marriage, or child marriage, as the marriage or union between two people in which one or both parties are younger than 18 years of age. The aims of this research were to assess the parents on four themes including concept of early marriage as well as perceptions on causes, consequences and strategies to mitigate the problems.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey adopted questionnaire that comprised 4-themes and a critical review. A total 360 out of 384 samples were drawn from 8-communities within the local governments in the Central senatorial district of Delta State. The percentages of responses from the respondents categorized on the Likert scale groups were determined.

Results: The analysis shows disagreements among respondents’ perception. 60% are yet to acknowledge gender discrimination in the underlying practice of early marriage. 77% admitted that ignorance is a factor. There is also some strong agreement that early marriage was due to unexpected pregnancy. A total of 62.5% of respondents admitted that their daughter married the boys who impregnated them, and all the girls were forced into it by their parents.

Conclusions: The observation lays credence to the fact that unexpected pregnancy is the highest cause of early marriage. It is hereby inferred that there appear to be ignorance leading parents to force their girls into early marriage because of premarital pregnancy.


Early marriage, Gender discrimination, Health literacy, Parental ignorance, Unexpected pregnancy

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