Social Relationships and the Mental Illness Experiences of Pregnant Nomadic Fulani Women in Southwestern Nigeria

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:18
Oral Presentation
Janet OGUNDAIRO, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, Nigeria
Bibilola OLADEJI, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, Nigeria
Olufunke O. ADEGOKE, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Residential pattern of the nomadic Fulani and conflicts between them and their host communities in Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of Southwestern Nigeria has been widely reported. However, there is dearth of empirical data on how their residential pattern and conflict serve as drivers of mental illness among Fulani pregnant women. Hence, this study assesses the perceived sign of mental illness behavior, factors influencing the behaviour and the influence of social relationships which reduced or complicate the behavior of the pregnant women.

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Mental illness experiences among the pregnant women were on the negative extreme similar to signs of being sober, withdrawn and moody.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.