Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Socio-Economic Factors Influencing Mate Selection among Adolescents of Reproductive Age in Nigeria

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Socio-Economic Factors Influencing Mate Selection among Adolescents of Reproductive Age in Nigeria

Article excerpt

The aspect of mate selection is a most fundamental concern in the analysis of the family system. Humans are obviously very different from other mammals in our vast world as "In the animal kingdom, mating involves only the two partners whereas for mankind, it is the joining of two enormously complex systems" (Me Goldrick & carter 1982, P. 179). Adult pairing has reached almost universal proportions in both developed and developing societies. The reason for the drive toward pairing is both basic to our biological nature and culturally mandated. The biological make up of children encourages early dependencies on others and these are reinforced by ongoing needs for interpersonal support. Adults are not immune from these nurturance needs; adult personalities continue to demand the nourishment of significant relationships.

In most societies, marriages are not contracted at random. Those who are to engage themselves in such contract must of necessity have known themselves, like themselves and love themselves before agreeing to mariy. Such potential would have undergone certain processes under the mating selection system in which sociologists have called dating and in some cases courtship. Human mate selection has been a common research topic by many scholars as primarily various economic, social political & cultural criteria of selecting a partner has significant impacts on the relationship formation, quality, and maintenance and on the long-term survival of the relationship. When it comes to mate selection, we are seeking more than just a reproductive partner; we are looking for someone to spend our life time with. "Only when two lovers' affection for and commitment it one another expand at roughly the same pace do they mutually tend to reinforce their love" (quoted in Rubin, 1980, P. 284).

From a considerable evidence of the role of economic factors in relationship formation, societal economic downturns are associated with increases in divorce and separation (conger, et al , 1994) familial poverty, unemployment/under-employment of family members affect both the psychological well-being of family members and familiar interaction including increased violence (Anson & Sagy 1995), Vinokur, et al, 1996). In contrast, higher family income is often associated with greater marital satisfaction among both men and women (Orbuch, et al, 1996) and as such economic potential of a male is often a desirable characteristic by the female (Baez & Schroeder, 1995; Singh 1995).

In almost eveiy society, mate selection and marriage are institutionalized social relationships, and as such males and females, are seeking many qualities in their mates that are beneficial traits to be passed onto their offspring through procreation after eventual marriage. In the African societies, a childless marriage is considered a troublesome one and more often than not, prospective partners look into the social background of their potential mates for such factors as educational background, class, age & health history as a means of curtailing danger in the relationship over time.

Furthermore, among African societies, mate selection and marriage take place between two groups rather than two individuals and the two families come together during marriage ceremony. Thus, the opinions of the parents, family members and peers have also been identified as some of the factors militating against the choice of a marriage partner.

Statement of the Problem

"If you and your partner are a good match, it can be easy to have a long-term fulfilling relationship, if you are a bad match. It can be impossible". Studies by Sternberg and many others find that children who have been deprived of parental love especially by the parent of the opposite sex often have trouble developing commitment and sharing intimacy. Often, they avoid feeling vulnerable and dependent on another person by avoiding strong emotional ties together.

It takes a lot of imagination to sustain love. …

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