Investigating the Influence of Abandonment, Stigmatization and Social Isolation on the Coping Strategies of Women with Vesico Vaginal Fistula in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

Women in the developing world are experiencing “unimaginable suffering” due to lack of effective care
during pregnancy and childbirth as many end up with debilitating injuries such as Vesico Vaginal
Fistula (VVF). VVF is an abnormal communication between the urinary bladder and the vagina that
results in the continuous involuntary discharge of urine. Most women affected are living in shame and
isolation, often abandoned by their husbands and relatives. The aim of this study was to assess the
extent to which abandonment, social isolation and stigmatization significantly influence the coping
strategies of women affected by VVF in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The study adopted Ex- post Facto
design using mixed method of quantitative and qualitative approach. Transactional model of stress
and coping directed the study. A sample of 120 VVF women (inpatients and outpatients), 18 VVF
women coming back for follow-up care after repairs and 3 key informants were purposively selected
for the study. Instruments for data collection were structured interview guide and in-depth
(unstructured) interview. Regression analyses was used for quantitative data analysis and verbatim
transcription/coding for qualitative with result presented in themes. The results showed that the three
independent variables were significant predictors of coping strategies of VVF women in the area of
study, with abandonment and stigmatization having a high influence though with a negative coefficient
while social isolation exerted a weak influence. This implied that the more abandoned and stigmatized
the VVF women, the less active their coping abilities while social isolation exerted less influence on
their coping strategies. The study concluded that there exist a significant influence of abandonment
stigmatization and social isolation on the coping strategies of VVF affected women.

Author (s) Details

Dr. Alberta David Nsemo
Department of Nursing Science, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

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