Social Relationships and the Mental Illness Experiences of Pregnant Nomadic Fulani Women in Southwestern Nigeria
Biopsychosocial model of mental illness was adopted by this study. Non-participant observation and 20 in-depth interviews were conducted with pregnant women purposively selected through snowballing technique from five Fulani settlements. Data collected was transcribed and content analysed thematically.
Mental illness experiences among the pregnant women were on the negative extreme similar to signs of being sober, withdrawn and moody. Factors influencing these behaviors include financial challenges, cultural and language barriers inhibiting free interaction with people of other ethnic group and lack of access to public health services. Strained relationships between the Fulani and their host communities partly due to incessant conflicts further exacerbate their negative reactions to others relationship. On the other hand, segregated residential pattern of the Fulani strengthened their ethnic bound and enhanced social networks that pitch them against perceived outsiders. Their negative attitude hinders effective maternal and child health care services provision to the them.
The Fulani’s lack of harmonious relationships with their host communities endangers exhibition of anti-social behavior which sometimes get to the negative extreme.