International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

p-ISSN: 2163-1948    e-ISSN: 2163-1956

2018;  8(3): 51-58



Is Marital Status a Predictor of Job Satisfaction of Public Secondary School Teachers?

Mocheche Esther Kemunto, Raburu Pamela Adhiambo, Bosire Joseph

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, School of Education, Kenya

Correspondence to: Mocheche Esther Kemunto, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, School of Education, Kenya.


Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Scientific & Academic Publishing.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).


Job satisfaction is a globally important factor in determining human capital and subsequent worker productivity. In Kenya, human capital is a major concern as evidenced by teacher burnout and the strikes in the teaching fraternity. This study investigated the influence of marital status on job satisfaction of public secondary school teachers in Kisii Central Sub-County, Kenya. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Herzberg’s two factor theories guided the present study. The study’s target population consisted all 903 public secondary school teachers in Kisii Central Sub County. A sample of 306 was selected by stratified random sampling to obtain a sample that was representative from all the categories of secondary schools followed by stratification according to gender. For qualitative data, twelve secondary school principals were purposively selected. The study adopted a convergent parallel research design with mixed method research approach. Data collection tools were questionnaires (modified Sorensen self-esteem scale and job descriptive index) and interview schedule. Validity was ensured by the assistance of the two supervisors’ judgment. Reliability coefficient was computed using Cronbach’s Alpha and it was found to be 0.764. Quantitative data was organized using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0 and the data was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Qualitative data was analyzed using Thematic analysis. It was established that marital status had an influence on job satisfaction where the married were much happier in their jobs than the single. [F (4, 257) = 3.62, p=0.007.]. The study recommended that teacher counsellors should adopt appropriate cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to assist divorced and single teachers enhance their self-esteem and job satisfaction. This study recommends further research in gender and efficacy school management among secondary school principals.

Keywords: Job satisfaction, Marital status, Married, Divorced, Widowed, Separated and single

Cite this paper: Mocheche Esther Kemunto, Raburu Pamela Adhiambo, Bosire Joseph, Is Marital Status a Predictor of Job Satisfaction of Public Secondary School Teachers?, International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 8 No. 3, 2018, pp. 51-58. doi: 10.5923/j.ijpbs.20180803.03.

1. Introduction

Human capital is an important aspect in promoting creativity, innovation and productivity for sustainable development. Teachers are a category of human capital based in schools. Teachers play an important role in enabling Kenya to achieve the objective of education for all by 2020 (UNESCO, 2014). Babita and Gurmit (2014) highlight that teachers who are not satisfied with their jobs might be less committed and are likely to perform below their capabilities, and that the teaching profession is facing problems related to teachers’ job satisfaction. Abdalla, Parasuraman and Uli (2009) also agree that the general perception is that teachers in the government schools are dissatisfied with their profession. Ogochi (2014) study in Transmara, Kenya also agrees that lack of job satisfaction has led to low performance of learners in national examinations.
Kinman & Wray (2014) describe teaching as an emotional activity whereby teachers experience emotional exhaustion, burnout and depersonalization. Reilly, Eithne, Dhingra, Katie and Boduszek (2014) have defined job satisfaction as a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences. Previous research indicates that job satisfaction is crucial, due to its associations with work performance, physical and mental health, and career decisions (Skaalvik and Skaalvik, 2009). Teachers dissatisfied with their work display lower work commitment, negatively impact on student motivation through emotional contagion, may fail to satisfy their student’s needs for autonomy and competence and are at greater risk of leaving the profession (Lüdtke and Baumert, 2008).
In another study, Fitzmaurice (2012) suggested that the level of job satisfaction and attitude of the teachers towards teaching was affected by marital status. It was therefore important to find out if marital status differences influenced job satisfaction and subsequently human capital of public secondary school teachers in Kisii Central Sub-County, Kenya. In a study in Kenya by Otanga and Mange (2014) revealed that teachers' job satisfaction was low. Promoting creativity, innovation and productivity for sustainable development in Kenya requires motivated and satisfied teachers; however teachers have always expressed lack of satisfaction in their jobs (ibid). This manifests that there is a low teaching morale in the teaching profession and underperformance. Ogochi (2014) study has reported that strikes among Kenyan teachers have always paralyzed learning in all public learning institutions. This is an area that requires urgent attention thus an area explored by the present study. The single, married, widowed, divorced and separated are also resigning (County director of Education, 2016). There is need to investigate if marital status has an influence in job satisfaction of public secondary school teachers in Kisii Central Sub-County.
The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of marital status on job satisfaction of teachers in public secondary school teachers Kisii Central Sub- County. It was investigated by testing the hypothesis
‘There is no statistically significant influence of marital status differences in job satisfaction of public secondary school teachers in Kisii Central Sub- County.’
Theoretical Framework
The study was informed by two theories; Theory of self-esteem and two factor theory by Herzberg.
Maslow (1954) attempted to synthesize a large body of research related to human motivation, and prior to Maslow (1954), researchers generally focused separately on such factors as Biology; achievement or power to explain what energizers directs and sustains human behavior. Maslow (1954) posited a hierarchy of human needs based on two groupings; deficiency needs and growth needs. Within the deficiency needs each lower need must be met before moving to the next higher level. Once each of these needs has been satisfied, if at some future time a deficiency is detected, the individual will act to remove the deficiency. It is expected that married teachers enjoy a high job satisfaction compared to the other marital statuses as this particular group received social support, were esteemed, valued and could rely on the availability of somebody during stressful times.
The present study in addition employed two factor theory by Herzberg, Mausner & Snyderman (1959). Herzberg, Mausner & Snyderman (1959) published a two-factor theory of work motivation. Herzberg’s two-factor theory (also known as the motivator – hygiene theory) attempts to explain, satisfaction and motivation in the workplace. This theory states that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are driven by different factors- motivation and hygiene factors respectively. The basic tenets of Herzberg’s two factor theory (1959) are that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are separate issues; satisfaction only comes from factors intrinsic to work itself. Motivators or intrinsic (satisfier) factors are related to the actual performance of the work, or the content of the job. The motivators are internal job factors that urge the employees to strive for better achievements, and lead to higher job satisfaction and motivation. They are the factors that influence the perceptions or feelings of employees about themselves and their work, and motivate them to work harder or better. Akyeampong and Bennell (2007) state that intrinsic motivators such as responsibility, the challenging nature of a job, and achievement are motivators that comes from within a person. It is expected that the married have more intrinsic motivators than the other marital statuses, hence a higher job satisfaction than the other statuses.
Herzberg’s Two-factor Theory has been linked to that of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory as it suggests that Maslow’s higher-order needs are similar to Herzberg’s satisfier factors, and Maslow’s lower-order needs are similar to Herzberg’s hygiene factors. According to Herzberg, et al., (1959), motivation factors are internal factors that are associated with higher-order needs, and include the opportunity to achieve in the job, recognition of accomplishment, challenging work and growth options, responsibility in the job, and the work itself – if the work is interesting. The presence of intrinsic factors or motivators lead to job satisfaction, but their absence will not lead to job dissatisfaction.

2. Literature Review

Several studies (Fitzmaurice, 2012; Gazioglu and Tansel, 2006; Eyupoglu and Saner, 2013; Olatunjis and Mokuolu, 2014; Anyango, Ojera and Ochieng, 2013 and Kibkebut, 2013) have been carried out on the relationship between marital status and job satisfaction. Results of the studies have shown that marital status has a continual commitment on the organization with the married group being much happier in their jobs compared to the other statuses.
In a study carried out in Britain, Gazioglu and Tansel (2006) investigated individual and job related factors that had an impact on job satisfaction. The data that was used was from 28240 British employees in the workplace employee relations survey. It was found that married individuals had a lower satisfaction level than the unmarried. The study explored marital status in terms of married and not married while the current study looked at the marital status in terms of married, single, divorced, separated and widowed. This way it was possible to compare if differing levels of job satisfaction were as a result of the differences in marital status.
However, Eyupoglu and Saner (2013) examined marital status- job satisfaction relationship in higher education in Turkey. Study population comprised of all academics of North Cyprus in which the sample size was 430. The results showed that job satisfaction of married teachers was on the whole higher than those who are not married. Overall job satisfaction levels varied for the different marital statuses. While the reviewed study was carried out in Turkey and could not be generalized to a Kenyan context and also the study was carried out in higher education and not secondary school teachers, who could be experiencing a different job description, there was need for another study where the present one studied secondary school teachers in Kisii Central Sub- County.
In contrast, Fitzmaurice (2012) investigated job satisfaction in Ireland using a sample size of 115. The data was analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 18.0, analysis of covariance was the primary statistics used. Results of the study showed that those who were single seemed more satisfied than those married and divorced. In the study only questionnaires were used to collect data, while the current study used both questionnaires and interviews. Interviews resulted in rich data that was got as a result of probing, which provided a better understanding of a problem under study than either by itself.
In a study in Kenya, Anyango, Ojera and Ochieng (2013) explored the effect of employee characteristics on job satisfaction of private security guards in Western, Kenya. Data was collected using self- administered questionnaires from a sample of 385 guards of private security firms. “Findings indicated that 83.1% were male, 61.3% had achieved secondary education, 69.4% had between 0-4 years’ experience, 82.6% had a salary of between 5000-10000, 61.6% had professional security training and 54% had no expectation on the job” (Anyango et al., 2013 p, 2609). The findings revealed that marital status did not significantly affect job satisfaction. In the study only questionnaires were used while the present study used both questionnaires and interviews which complemented each other as each offset the weaknesses of the other.
In another study in Kenya, by Kibkebut (2013) investigated the effect of employee demographic characteristics on organizational commitment, job satisfaction and turnover intentions. Data were collected from 932 employees in three public universities and three private universities in Kenya. The results from multiple regression analysis showed that marital status had a significant effect on continuance and commitment. However, the study was carried out in university staff and could not be generalized to the secondary school teachers in Kenya. The present study focused on public secondary school teachers.

3. Research Methodology

The mixed method approach is where the researcher collects, analyzes data, integrates the findings and draws inferences using both qualitative and quantitative approaches in a single study (Oso & Onen, 2011). Creswell (2014) further points out that a combination of both qualitative and quantitative data provides a better understanding of a research problem than either approach by itself. A combination of both techniques made it possible to arrive at a richer and more complete description covering fairly all aspects of the phenomenon under investigation (Morgan, 2007). The present study therefore used both qualitative and quantitative data in an effort to confirm, cross-validate or collaborate findings within a single study (Morgan, 2007).
Research Design
Within mixed method approach, convergent parallel design was adopted in which both qualitative and quantitative data were simultaneously collected, merged and used to understand a research problem. The basic rationale for this design was that one data collection form supplied strengths to offset the weaknesses of the other form and that a more complete understanding of a research problem resulted from collecting both qualitative and quantitative data (Creswell, 2014). Creswell (2014) further points out that the mixed method research gives equal priority to both quantitative and qualitative data.
This study valued both quantitative and qualitative data and saw them as equal sources of information in the study and therefore data was concurrently or simultaneously collected during the study. The results from the quantitative and qualitative analyses were compared to determine if the two databases yield similar or contrasting results.
Research Instruments
This study used a questionnaire and interview schedule to collect the required data.
Questionnaires were used as data collection instruments because; they are inexpensive, they gather a large amount of data, wide ranging can be well designed, simple and clear and self-administering can be made anonymous and since they are presented on paper format there is no opportunity for interviewer bias (Mugenda and Mugenda, 2009). Anonymity was ensured by the respondents not writing their names or schools. Out of the 903 secondary school teachers in Kisii Central Sub-County, a sample size of 306 teachers was selected for the study and were all given study questionnaires. 262 (85.6%) of the questionnaires were returned for analysis.
Interview Schedule for the Secondary School Principals
Orodho (2009) points out that an interview schedule is a set of prepared questions designed to be asked exactly as worded. The same questions were asked to each interviewee in the same order in aspects that were in line with the study’s objective, influence of marital status on job satisfaction. Twelve Secondary school Principals were interviewed in their offices and were audio recorded after they consented (Guest & Laura, 2013). Those that consented to be interviewed filled a consent form, which also informed them of adherence to anonymity, confidentiality and voluntary participation. Anonymity was ensured by not using real names (instead P1, P2…..P12 was used). Findings were only to be used for this study.

4. Findings, Interpretations and Discussions

The marital statuses of the respondents that participated in the quantitative study are shown in Table 1;
Table 1. Bio data of the respondents
In the current study, the married 211 (80.5%) formed the majority of the participants, unmarried were 33 (12.6%), widowed 6 (2.3%), separated 7 (2.7%) and divorced 5 (1.9%) formed the minority of the participants. The influence of marital status on job satisfaction was explored by testing the hypothesis
“There is no statistically significant difference of public secondary school teachers’ marital status on job satisfaction”.
A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to explore the influence of marital status on teachers’ job satisfaction, as measured by job descriptive index questionnaire. Marital status was categorized into five groups according to their status (Group 1: Married; Group 2: Single; Group 3: Separated Group 4: Divorced; Group 5: Widowed). The marital status was the independent variable, while the scores on the teacher’s job satisfaction index was the dependent variable.
Table 2 shows group description for job satisfaction scores got by each group, revealed that married teachers had higher mean (N=211, mean=51.4, standard deviation =2.80 and standard error =.193) in job satisfaction index than the other groups. Divorced teachers had lowest job satisfaction (N=5, mean=45.8, standard deviation =12.36 and standard error =5.53).
Table 2. Group Descriptions: Job Satisfaction Level (N=262)
The results were further subjected to hypothesis testing using ANOVA. The ANOVA model used was:
Where were the sample means for the five different groups of marital statuses.
Table 3 shows the SPSS One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) output.
Table 3. ANOVA Output, Job Satisfaction Level by Marital Status (N=262)
Table 3 shows the ANOVA results which revealed that there was a statistically significant difference (p <.05 level) [F (4, 257) =3.652, p=.007] in job satisfaction by marital status.
Concerning the hypothesis
Was rejected because for the five marital statuses F (4, 257) =3.652, p=.007 and this meant accepting the alternative hypothesis
Given the fact that a significant difference was established, it was necessary to further find out which group was significantly different from which other group. This was done by computing a post Turkey HSD test.
Tukey HSD Test
The statistical significance of the differences between each pair of groups was provided in the table of multiple comparisons, which gives the results of the Post-Hoc tests.
The finding of the study as indicated in Table 4 shows that the job satisfaction mean score for married teachers (M= 51.39; SD=2.80) was significantly different from the mean score of divorced teachers (M=45.75; SD=12.36). The level of job satisfaction of the married teachers were significantly (p = .026) higher than the divorced teachers. However, the teachers in the other marital status did not post any statistically significant difference in job satisfaction index. Contrastingly, a study in Nigeria by Adebola and Jabril (2012) reported that the value of F at 8,333 degrees of freedom at the 0.05 level of significance was 3.00. Therefore, since the F-value (F=2.25) was less than the Table-F value [F= (.05) =3.00. The other variables indicated that no significant difference existed in the level of job satisfaction with the rest of the variables. This can also be seen by the F-values yielded by the variables (Marital Status=1.06 and Age =.77). Similarly, in a study in Kenya by Njiru (2014) reported that married teachers and those who were once married (widowed or divorced) obtained high mean scores compared to those who were single. This showed that teachers who were single were less satisfied with their job. A study by Brackett et al., (2011) has reported that individuals who received social support felt cared for, esteemed, and valued, and could rely on the availability of someone with whom to communicate during stressful times. This meant married teachers were happier as secondary school teachers than other marital statuses.
Table 4. Tukey HSD Test by Marital Status (N=262)
Evaluation of the effect size
The importance of the finding was established by calculating the ‘effect size’ (also known as ‘strength of association’). Effect size indicates the relative magnitude of the differences between the means. In other words, it helped to describe the ‘amount of the total variance in the dependent variable (level of job satisfaction) that was predictable from knowledge of the levels of the independent variables (marital status). The eta squared measuring the effect size in ANOVA results was calculated using the formula:
This calculated Eta squared (.0538) implied that a fairly small proportion (5.4%) of variance in the level of job satisfaction was explained by marital status of the respondents.
In the qualitative data, all the respondents were married. This translated to 100% married in terms of marital status. When asked how marital status affects their job satisfaction, married respondents revealed thus:
It makes me to be responsible in that I have to guard it and even my marriage. It gives status in society as am going back home, I am assured of food, my clothes are washed and ironed and so it makes me to concentrate on teaching and I know that I have to defend this job because the other party also depends on it (P2)
Marital status affects job satisfaction positively. When you go home, you find meals ready, you wake up and find your shoes polished, clothes ironed then you come to school. It gives you ample time to come to school. You can imagine where you do all those duties. I think that could have stunted my effectiveness in delivering where you are stressed from home, you cannot concentrate. That is why I am saying, my marriage has assisted, I look at it positively (P12).
Principal P2 revealed through verbatim quotations that being married has given him status in society and he had to guard the marriage hence being responsible. Above all there was somebody that did the household chores. Similarly, Principal P12 revealed that he was satisfied in his job because he was married and most of the chores were being done by the spouse like cooking, cleaning among others and this gave him ample time to perform in school.
Similarly, in Britain a study by Brackett et al., (2011) reported that teachers were consistently required to manage their own emotional displays as well as the emotions of their students, teachers with higher emotional regulation ability may have been better equipped to deal with the myriad, intense emotion–provoking demands of their work (e.g., interruptions, rule violations, uncertainties, failures to achieve goals) that increased stress and exhaustion and decrease feelings of both personal accomplishment and job satisfaction.
When asked how marital status affects job satisfaction, P5, a married respondent revealed:
Am okay because if I could not be married, then I could not be complete (P5).
Respondent P5 a female principal in one of the county schools revealed that she was comfortable with her marital status because it made her complete.
When asked about any challenges faced as a result of his marital status, P2 a married respondent revealed:
As far as am concerned, I have related well with both male and female students, staff and workers of course you may have few members of the opposite sex, who may have some over just, some advances, but when you know what your duties are, you become their friend and you help them to overcome whatever challenges they have as far as their relationship with you is concerned. The few challenges have been handled with satisfaction (P2).
Respondent P2 revealed through verbatim quotes that much as there are challenges as a result of him being married, he had related well with both staff, students and workers and the few challenges had been handled to satisfaction. Similarly, in Britain a study by Brackett et al., (2011) has reported that teachers believed that the ability to regulate emotions helped them to be more effective in achieving academic goals, building quality social relationships, and maintaining good classroom management and discipline practices. In addition, in the USA a study by Sutton (2004) reported that most teachers were aware of the repercussions of poor emotion regulation where one inappropriate display of contempt for a student could destroy forever a teacher’s relationship with that student.
When asked how marital status affects their job satisfaction, P12, a married respondent narrated:
There are rumors you may get, you know how women are, maybe your wife is told oh, Mwalimu is interested in one of the madams, they smile at one another. Normally am told later on but it is not a big issue because gradually it will go off (P12).
Respondent P12 revealed a challenge as a result of his marital status especially where the wife was misinformed of him having a relationship with the female teachers but he was informed later hence it did not appear to be a big issue as it went off gradually. Similarly, a study by Dunn, Brackett, Ashton-James, Schneiderman, & Salovey (2007) reported that individuals with higher emotional regulation ability were better able to forecast their feelings for future events.
When asked how marital status affects their job satisfaction, P9, a married respondent narrated:
Female staff may retard your effort, you may give a delegated duty to a female, for a reason, she fails to do it, so if you make too much follow-up, it may reflect that you are undermining them so in one way, you withdraw (P9).
Respondent P9 revealed that for him delegating duty to the female teachers was a challenge because they failed to perform and when he made too much follow-up they indicated something different. Similarly, in Britain a study by Brackett et al., (2011) established that teachers with higher emotional regulation ability may be better at preventing negative emotion–related situations from occurring in their classroom because they can forecast how certain situations would make them (and their students) feel and take preventive action.
When asked of the challenges faced as a result of her marital status, P5 revealed:
Co-ordinating between the profession and the family like my daughter Precious wants me in her school and the KNEC exams are going on...(P5).
Respondent P5 cited that balancing between the job and the family was the challenge. Similarly, in Britain a study by Brackett et al., (2011) reported that Individuals who received social support felt cared for, esteemed, and valued, and could rely on the availability of someone with whom to communicate during stressful times. In addition, a study in Nigeria by Olatunjis & Mokuolu (2014) reported that the married enjoyed a higher job satisfaction compared to the single. In a study by Raburu (2015) about women academics indicated similar challenges of balancing family and career. However, this study differs with a study in Ireland by Fitzmaurice (2012) which reported that the single seemed more satisfied than the married and divorced. In addition, in Britain a study by Gazioglu and Tansel (2006) that revealed that the married individuals had a lower satisfaction compared to the unmarried.
Qualitative data findings tended to agree with the findings from a study in Kenya by Anyango, Ojera and Ochieng (2013) which established that marital status did not significantly affect job satisfaction. However, it differed with a study in Nigeria by Popoola and Oluwole (2007) which reported a positive relationship between marital status and job satisfaction.
On contribution of each variable to the predication of overall job satisfaction unstandardized beta were explored. It showed that all unstandardized beta coefficient values for marital status were negative indicating that married teachers, who were the reference variable, registered highest job satisfaction over and above other marital status. For example, unstandardized beta coefficient of -6.278, which was for marital status (divorced) of the teacher, indicate that this variable made the strongest unique contribution in explaining the dependent variable, when the variance explained by all other variables in the model was controlled for. Since the reference marital status used was “married”, this finding implies that teachers who were divorced were 6.278 units less satisfied in teaching job relative to the teachers who were married. However, teachers who were widowed registered overall job satisfaction of only .197 less than the married teachers. In this study, the married had the highest job satisfaction (51.39) followed by the separated (50.94), the widowed (50.68), the single (49.42) and finally divorced (45.75) had the least job satisfaction.
The study’s potential contribution include: The Ministry of Education, these findings may help them curb high teacher turnover as it may bring industrial harmony in this sub sector where the Teachers’ Service Commission may benefit in the sense that they can have negotiations with the teachers and once and for all find a lasting solution to the teachers’ demands. These findings may also benefit the Boards of Management as dissatisfaction issues seem to be the major cases handled by these boards as far as teacher’s discipline is concerned. The principals have hardly been left out since there is going to be harmony in their work stations that may come in as a result of handling dissatisfaction issues in the teachers. Teachers may benefit in the sense that when job satisfaction issues are dealt with they are likely to be the direct beneficiaries. Teacher counselors may benefit in the sense that they provide therapy to dissatisfied teachers and therefore their workload will decrease. Finally, the study may also benefit in building a rich body of knowledge for reference by scholars and researchers.
This study concluded that teacher counsellors should adopt cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to assist divorced and single teachers to enhance their self-esteem and job satisfaction. This is because the study reported that married teachers had a higher job satisfaction compared to the single, divorced, separated and widowed. This way it will promote creativity, innovation and productivity for sustainable development. Future research should be directed at school environment and job satisfaction among secondary school teachers.


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