Assessment of coping skills of single divorced Venda women

Ramuthaga, Ndivhuho Alice
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Single parent family structure is becoming prevalent in South Africa as a result of divorce or separation. Venda, as part of South Africa is not immune from divorce, however traditional values have an impact on this issue amongst Venda women. Venda like other African nations that value their culture, is in transition to Westernisation. Marriage is greatly valued and is viewed as an avenue for security, social and emotional fulfillment. Girls are raised to believe that the dignity of the mistress of the house demands concealment of dissension within it. Venda women are expected to stay in and preserve their marriage no matter how difficult it becomes. Modern women who are increasingly better educated and more conscious of their rights, often feel they must challenge their husbands and may seek divorce when the marriage is intolerable. Although women in Venda are seeking divorce more frequently, conflict arises between cultural background and Westernisation. Divorced women are not acceptable, regarded as failures and are denigrated by society. Due to the kind of issues that divorce women in Venda are faced with, a survey assessing their coping skills was conducted on 50 divorced women with children and working in an industrial area at Shayandima in Venda. The demographic questionnaire and translated “Ways of Coping” scale (Revised) by Folkman and Lazarus (1984) as adapted for the purpose of this study was used. The results of the study reflected the different kinds of coping mechanisms used, i.e denial, avoidance, regression, counterphobia, rigidity, projection, self - destructive behavior, inventive behavior and dependency. Most of the women exhibited symptoms of depression, and were not aware of their mental condition.
Submitted in partial fulfillment for the requirement for the degree of MSc (Nursing) in the Department of Nursing Education in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Witwatersrand