Age at First Marriage of Single Mothers in East Coast, Malaysia

Zainab Ismail, Wan Ibrahim Wan Ahmad


This paper presents the results of a cross-sectional study conducted to explore age at first marriage of single mothers in three states in East Coast of Malaysia, which are Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang. East Coast is known with high prevalence of single mothers in Malaysia. The high prevalence of divorce in the East Coast of Malaysia makes the area an interesting site for examining the issue of divorce or single mothers in Malaysia. Research findings outside Malaysia show the incidence of single-parent families has increased significantly in recent years, and the majority of the single-parent is single mother. This present article analyzes age at first marriage of single mothers in rural areas in East Coast in Malaysia. More specifically, it analyzes; (1) sociodemographic profiles of single mothers in rural Malaysia; (2), age at first marriage of single mothers; and (3) reasons behind the early age at first marriage among single mothers in rural areas in East Coast in Malaysia. This study is basically employed descriptive research as the main objective of the study is to provide information about some aspects of single mothers in rural Malaysia. Descriptive research is employed if the researcher wants to study or answer questions such as what, and how. Descriptive research is directed at making careful observations and detailed documentation of a phenomenon of interest. To meet these objectives, 500 single mothers in East Coast, Malaysia were selected as respondents. They are selected for the study through a chain referral sampling. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews, and analyzed descriptively. Results of the study reveal that the youngest age at first marriage of single mothers is 13, while the oldest is 47 years old, with the age at first marriage most commonly found is 18 years old. The incidence of marriage at early age amongst respondent occurred because of they are belong to the generation of the 1950s or earlier where at that time most of the population marry at young age. Min age at first marriage for all respondents is 20 years old, whilst median age at first marriage is also 20 years, which means half of the respondents commenced their marriage at the age of 20 years and below, and another half began their marriage at the age of 20 years and over. It was found that not many single mothers who began their marriage at the age of 30 years and over.

Keywords: Family; single parent family; single mother; family change

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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