Examination of the lived experiences of the female spouse in child mar-riages in northern Ghana: Implications for psychological well-being

  • Elizabeth Anokyewaa Sarfo University of Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
  • Joana Salifu Yendork University of Ghana
  • Anthony V. Naidoo University of Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
Keywords: child marriage, adolescents, subjective experiences, psychological well-being, Ghana


Marriage is ordinarily complex and challenging exerting an invariable effect on the psychological well-being of married individuals. When the spouse is a child, the effects may be much more complicated. This study explored the subjective experiences of marriage and the related psychological implications for married adolescent girls. Using purposeful, convenient and snowball sampling techniques, 21 married adolescent girls were recruited and interviewed. Using a generic inductive qualitative analysis method, two main themes on the subjective experience of marriage and two themes on the implications of those experiences on the psychological well-being of married girls emerged. Positive experiences in marriage were related to the availability of financial support and resources, social recognition, and the presence of spousal support whereas challenges experienced included themes of financial difficulties, restrictiveness, relational conflict and abuse and stressful chores. The positive experiences of marriage had implications for female spouses’ satisfaction with life and increased quality of life while the negative experiences of marriage were associated with negative psychological implications. These findings underscore the need for the development and implementation that seeks to the alleviate the negative psychological implications of early marriage and strategies and measures that challenge the reinforcing cultural and religious traditions of child marriage.