Widowhood practices in Nigeria and support system: challenges to counselling for national integration

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Counselling Association of Nigeria


The paper examined the widowhood practices and support systems available to widows from three major ethnic groups of Nigeria viz: Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. The support systems received were compared on the basis of three variables namely age at bereavement religious affiliation and duration of bereavement. The sample for study consists of 865 widows purposively drawn from three ethnic groups of Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba in selected cities of Kaduna, Enugu and Ibadan. The widow’s Network Support Rating Scale (WNSRS) questionnaire developed by Abolarin (1997) and adapted for the study was administered on the selected widows by the researcher and trained research assistants. Three statistical measures were used to analyze the data collected i.e. frequency count, simple percentage and analysis of variance (ANOVA). The results showed that almost all the widows received the four broad support systems available thus: Economic, service, social and emotional (98.6, 98.2, 97.799.0) support systems respectively. The result of data analysis revealed that there is significant difference in the support system enjoyed by widows on the basis of their age at bereavement and religious affiliation while there is no significant difference in their support system on the basis of duration of bereavement. Among the implications of these findings is that widowhood practices in Nigeria is generally traumatic for widows and this is a great challenge to counselling for national integration. In order to facilitate national integration of the widows, it is recommended among other things that government should legislate against injurious and all dehumanizing widowhood practices, a national commission for widow affairs be established and bereavement and widowhood counselling made part of regular school curriculum for counsellor trainees to equip them for integrative counselling


The paper examine source of widowhood stress among widows and the implication of widowhood stress for integrative counselling in an attempt to built an all embracing society where all citizens would be duly catered for.


Widowhood practice, Integrative Counselling, Counselling, Support System


The Counsellor