IAAJAH - IGWEBUIKE: An African Journal of Arts and Humanities
Vol. 8 No. 3, 2022
Boniface OWIYO


The death of a spouse is a moment of devastation and sadness to the loss of love, care, company, and livelihood, attended by a feeling of abandonment. It represents radical change in one's social status and lifestyle. The inherited widow’s plight in Ugenya Sub County is not addressed due to the lack of awareness on the psychosocial challenges they experience. The purpose of the study is to determine the psychosocial challenges that affect the inherited widow’s wellness and explore the coping and intervention mechanisms that can be adopted by the inherited widows in Ugenya Sub County. The objectives of the study were to explore the psychological and social challenges affecting the wellness of inherited widows and explore the coping and intervention mechanisms that the widows can adopt to deal with the psychosocial challenges and improve their wellness within Ugenya Sub County. To understand the psychological wellbeing and the adjustment mechanisms of inherited widows in the study, the researcher postulated that the three models; the Kubler-Ross Model, the dual process model of coping with bereavement by Stroebe and Schut and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy by Albert Ellis would be applicable to this study. The study will adopt research design using a qualitative approach. Targeted populations are the inherited widows, those that are not inherited and clergy working with these women, local administrators. Purposive sampling will be used to select the 73 respondents that comprised of 36 inherited widows, 13 widows who are not inherited, 6 clergies,6 women leaders local,6 government leaders and 6 Luo elders. Interview guides instruments and Questionnaire for both widows and professionals was used in data collection. Qualitatively data was analysed using the thematic framework. Scales of psychological wellbeing by Carol Ryff was used to measure the psychological wellbeing of inherited widows. The study revealed that sexual rituals practices and process negatively affect widows psychological well-being. There are serval coping strategies adopted by widows such include; cognitive restructuring, problem solving, express emotion, social support, self-criticism, problem avoidance, social withdrawal, wishful thinking. The study concludes that inherited widows experience both negative and positive psychological wellbeing depending on the inheritor. Inheritance, provide widows with emotional support that enhance their psychological wellbeing some widows also receive financial and labour support from the inheritors that help them cop up with the loss. However, inheritance has also negative impact on psychological wellbeing of a widow such include the risk of HIV infection, emotional abuse and exploitation of the widow. It recommends exploration of alternatives to widow inheritance rituals.

Keywords: Inheritance, Psychology, Widows, Women, Well-being, Kenya

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