Impact of Gender on Adjustment to Bereavement in Benue and Nasarawa States of Nigeria: Counselling Implications

By Akume, G. T.; Kohol, B. et al. | Gender & Behaviour, December 2013 | Go to article overview

Impact of Gender on Adjustment to Bereavement in Benue and Nasarawa States of Nigeria: Counselling Implications


Akume, G. T., Kohol, B., Awopetu, Ronke Grace, Gender & Behaviour


This study examines the role of Gender in adjustment to bereavement in Benue and Nasarawa states of Nigeria and counselling implications. Three research questions and three hypotheses guided the study. A self developed questionnaire, Bereavement and adjustment inventory was developed to elicit information from two thousand, three hundred respondents. Data collected was analyzed using the descriptive mean and standard deviation to answer the research questions while the t-test statistics was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. Results showed that gender had significant impact on social, economic and psychological adjustment to bereavement. (Gender and social adjustment: The t-cal is 9292 while the t critical is 1.96. Gender and economic adjustment: t-cal is 2.904 while t critical is 1.96. Gender and psychological adjustment: The t-cal is 2.89 while the t critical is 1.96). Based on these findings, the paper recommends the use of Guidance and counseling to help the bereaved members of communities to adjust successfully to their condition.

Keywords: Gender, Adjustment, Bereavement, Benue, Nassarawa, Counselling

Bereavement is undoubtedly one of the human experiences that are very traumatic and universal. It is defined as the loss of a loved one to death of whatever cause. This is because all over the world, people die living behind their loved ones which could be a spouse, parent, child or sibling. According to Awopetu (2010), this death that could be of spouse, or loved one either husband or wife affects individuals in different ways it is usually accompanied by serious emotional stress and perhaps the psychological effects could as well be traumatic. The experience of bereavement is usually followed by feelings of loss, helplessly, hopelessness and depression among the bereaved. In many cases, people find it difficult to overcome the trauma of the loss of a loved one. Some of the people feel so devastated that they cannot go about their normal activities long after the death has taken place. Thus bereavement has negative impact on the bereaved both socially, economically and psychologically. It can also be observed that much of the impact has differential impact on male and female members of the community.

The concept 'gender' is perceived differently by various scholars. To Santrock 2004, gender is defined as the socio-cultural and psychological dimensions of being male or female, while Enemuo (2002), states that gender refers to the socially constructed inequality between men and women. This is because the society has created different and unequalled perceptions, roles, views and relevance which have been assigned to men and women through culture. The question then is how gender impacts the social, economic and psychological adjustment to bereaved males and females.

It is also instructive to note that the real problem of concern to the researchers is with how the bereaved are able to cope with their present condition of loss. The way and manner the bereaved are able to cariy on with life in the face of the loss of the loved ones is what we refer to as adjustment. For this study, the researchers focus is on economic, social and psychological aspects of adjustment to bereavement. The issue of adjustment is veiy important because it affects the functioning and emotional state of the individual which are determinant factors of his effectiveness and productivity. If the great majority of the bereaved are not properly adjusted to their condition, the tendency is for them to become less productive and this would affect the general level of development of the society.

Experience has shown that social role conditionings are determined in fulfillment of social roles. Consequently one's attitude and thoughts, feelings behaviors, coping skills and even the ways of life and death are influenced by ones perceptions and reactions as a male or female. In some cultures people express their feelings openly whether they are happy or sad. …

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