|dc.description.abstract||Child marriage, also referred to as early marriage is an emerging economic and
health concern across the world and remains a widespread problem especially in developing
countries including Zambia. Early or child marriages recorded a national average of 42 percent
in 2010 in Zambia and the situation has not changed much. The study investigated factors that
influence prevalence of child marriages in Chibombo District of Central Province in Zambia
among the married men and woman. Child marriages have an effect on maternal health.
The general objective of this study was to investigate factors that influence the
prevalence of early marriages in Chibombo district of Central Province.
The study used a mixed methods approach (convergent parallel) design which
uses quantitative and qualitative data collection. The quantitative part of this study utilized a
descriptive cross sectional approach which involved random sampling methods to select
respondents (n=385); a total of 300 respondents were interviewed using an administered
questionnaire. The qualitative aspect employed the phenomenological approach and it involved,
six (6) FGDs involving ten (6-10) participants in each group with equal representation of gender,
and 5 Key Informants (traditional leaders) were interviewed. All the participants were drawn
from Chibombo district from three sampled communities, namely: Chisamba, Chamuka and
Chibombo. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS version 20 while qualitative data through
content analysis involving identification of major themes. Data was presented in frequency tables
and charts. Chi square tests were conducted and data presented.
The research findings revealed that the prevalence of early marriages in Chibombo was
high at 39 percent, slightly below the national prevalence rate which was reported at 42 percent
in 2010. The study ascertained that various factors influence high prevalence of child marriages
but the most prominent ones were low education levels, lack of sufficient awareness information,
traditional cultural practices and high poverty levels.
Child marriages were more prevalent among girls due to
forced marriages which were driven by poverty and the mean age at marriage was 20.4 years
with a SD=4.6 years. This study recommends that awareness of consequences and effects of
child marriages be intensified. Encourage girls and boys to be more focused on education||en