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1.0: Background.

Cohabitation is when people live together in an emotional and or physically intimate relationship. The West Encyclopedia of American Law defines the term as couples who are not married while Abubakar et al., (2008) defines cohabitation as simply the act of a man and woman living together and having a sexual relationship without being married. Prior to 1970, cohabitation was illegal and even considered as a taboo in most states (Popenoe et al., 1999). Today, the practice has become common worldwide. In the United States, cohabitating couples account for 5.5 million households (A Few Facts on Cohabitation- (2001).

The trend has also increased rapidly in majority of the higher institute of learning, reason being the increase in the number of undergraduate students and the inability of the tertiary institutions in expanding and building new hostels which has forced several students to look for accommodation outside the campus. This has led to the emergence of an unacceptable trend in most of the universities in which male and female students cohabit in the same room. Some call it campus marriage but it would rather be called “cohabitation” among students, since it is an indecent act perpetuated off campus (Abubakar et al., 2008).Popenoe and Whitehead (2002) asserted that what makes cohabitation so significant is not only its prevalence but also its widespread and popular acceptance.

They went further to say that in recent students representational survey, nearly 66% of high school senior boys and 61% of the girls indicated that they agreed or mostly agreed with the statement claiming that it is usually a good idea for a couple to live together before getting married in order to find out whether they can really get along. Yet, cohabitation prior to marriage has been consistently associated with poorer marital communication quality, lower marital satisfaction and higher levels of domestic violence (Clarkberg, M, Ross, M. Stoltenberg and Linda J. W.1995).

On the 29th of July 2012, the observer newspaper in Uganda had an article entitled “cohabitation on the rise, fueling HIV rates”. A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey dubbed ‘Risk factors for un planned sex among University students in Kampala, cites premarital sex as the factor perpetuating cohabiting among University students. This reinforces the findings of the 2010 HIV/AIDS sero behavioral survey which noted that most male students wanted to test their compatibility with a partner before they commit to a legal union, a decision that promotes cohabiting.

This research intends to determine the academic performance impact of cohabitation among undergraduate students in the Akwa Ibom State University-Obio akpor campus (KIU-WC).

1.1 Problem statement

Since cohabitation is against the norms and values of our society, most students that live together do not allow their parents to know about it. This, therefore, exposes the students to all forms of risk and harm as they continue to cohabit. The academic performance dimension aspect of the problem is worrisome. Cohabiting students will most likely engage in unprotected sex which could result in sexually transmitted infections and the much dreaded HIV/AIDS disease (Ogunsola et al., 2004). the female students may indulge in the use of oral contraceptives in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy. But when pregnancy does occur, sometimes, the female student is more likely to seek abortion as a way out. This may expose the female students to quack doctors who are not licensed practitioners and this may result in septic abortion associated with hemorrhage, sepsis, and acute renal failure all of which endanger life.

Depression is a major consequence of cohabitation, the pains from such sexual break-ups is a factor in depression and suicide attempts among some young people. Bulanda and Lee (2005) noted that cohabiting women exhibited significantly more depressive symptoms than married women. Bulanda and lee talked about depression in relation to cohabiting women in general but did not mention if the same challenge affects female students. This study, therefore, intends to find out the academic performance challenges related to cohabitation on KIU-Obio akpor campus.


1.2.1 Broad objective

To assess the academic performance impact of cohabitation among undergraduate students in the Akwa Ibom state University-Obio akpor campus.

1.2.2 Specific objectives

  1. To establish the factors responsible for cohabitation among students.
  2. To examine the impact of cohabitation on academic performance.
  3. To identify the factors to discourage cohabitation among the students.


  1. What are the factors responsible for cohabitation among students?
  2. What is the impact of cohabitation on students’ academic performance?
  3. What are the factors discouraging cohabitation among the students?


The understanding of the academic performance impacts of cohabitation is critical to countries like Uganda which are experiencing an increase in the population of undergraduate students. However, little research has been done in this part of the country.

This study will fill some gaps in the literature on cohabitation among undergraduate students in Uganda. The study will bring to the fore the various reasons for cohabitation as well as provide a base for understanding the various consequences of cohabitation. When the findings of the study are made known, it will aid the university community as well as policymakers to understand the phenomenon and for adequate measures to be taken to bring the issue under control.


The study was conducted among undergraduate students in Akwa Ibom State University-Obio akpor campus, Abak, Akwa Ibom state  The time taken for the study was from June to September 2014.

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