The State of the Extended Family System in Ghana: Perceptions of Some Families

Joyce Enyonam Dzramedo, Bernard Mensah Amoako, Patricia Mawusi Amos


Family is one of the oldest and important social institutions in the world. Its structure can either be a small family size (nuclear family structure) or a much broader family size (extended family structure). Traditionally, Africans tend to revere and arrange their lives around the extended family line whose membership include, spouses and their children together with other relations of common descent such as grandparents, uncles, aunties, nephews, nieces and cousins. Social change in modern times has however, cause great transformation in every area of society with the family not spared. This study therefore aims at finding out the state of the extended family in the midst of these changes in society. Methodologically, a qualitative research technique was employed with participants selected from Teshie and Nungua Townships, within the Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Open-ended questionnaires and face-to-face interviews were the main data collection methods used to collect data from 60 participants consisting of 50 members of family and 10 heads of family. The study’s findings revealed that the traditional extended family has undergone some transformation marked by a drift towards modernized nuclear family system. The study also revealed that in spite of this drift, the extended family still has quite a strong hold in Ghana continuing to play some effective social welfare roles on occasions such as birth of a child, marriage and funeral rites. Finally, the study revealed that with some consented effort on the parts of both the family and the state it is possible to reduce the impact of modern trends on the extended family by the introduction of Guidance and Counselling programmes in our communities to improve our way of life.

Keywords: Family, extended family, nuclear family, socio-culture

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

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