International Journal of
Psychology and Counselling

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Psychol. Couns.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2499
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 213

Full Length Research Paper

Posthumous marriage in Igbo land, Southeastern Nigeria and its effects on child development and education

Agbo Maria Charity
  • Agbo Maria Charity
  • Department of Educational Psychology, Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, Enugu State of Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 17 August 2015
  •  Accepted: 16 October 2015
  •  Published: 31 March 2016


Posthumous marriage is one of the traditional marriages being practiced in Igbo Land, Southeastern Nigeria. This is a type of marriage that offers men who had already died opportunities to have wives and descendants when they have already died even before the marriages are contracted. Consequently, many traditional families use this opportunity to solve the problems of childlessness, male child absence in the family etc. However, much has not been investigated about this type of marriage. This work investigated on the posthumous marriage in Igbo land and its effects on the developments and education of the posthumous children. Descriptive survey research guided the study. The population of the study was all the single parents in Igbo Land. Simple random sampling was used to select 400 respondents from three states in southeast of Nigeria (Igbo Land). Questionnaire and oral interviews were used for data collection. The data were analyzed using mean scores and standard deviations, while z-test statistic was used to analyze the hypotheses at 0.05 alpha level of significance. The findings revealed quest for male child, continuity of a lineage, love for the dead and others as the reasons for posthumous marriage. The findings also indicated that posthumous children’s moral, social, and other developments and education are adversely affected due to poor conditions and social problems associated with posthumous marriage. The data also indicated that there is no significant difference between the mean scores of male single parents and their female counterparts on the reasons for posthumous marriage in Igbo land. There is also no significant difference between the mean scores of male single parents and the female single parents on the effects of posthumous marriage on child development and education; hence the two null hypotheses were accepted.

Key words: Quest for male child, continuity of a lineage, home keeping, prostitution, poverty, sexual abuse.