The study examined influence of health locus of control on menstrual attitude amongst three generations of women in Lagos Metropolis, a study of ikeja local government.
The study employed the survey design and the purposive sampling technique to select 450 three generation women in Lagos State. A well-constructed questionnaire, which was adjudged valid and reliable, was used for collection of data from the respondents. The data obtained through the administration of the questionnaires was analyzed using the Pearson correlation analysis.
The results of the correlation analysis showed that there is positive and significant relationship between health locus of control and three generations of women (r=0.772; p<0.05). Furthermore, a positive and significant relationship exists between menstrual attitude and three generations of women (r=.896; p<0.05). Also, a positive and significant relationship between Health locus of control and menstrual attitude (r=0.772; p<0.05).
The study concluded that health locus of control has influence on menstrual attitude amongst three generations of women in Lagos Metropolis.
The study suggested that; Further studies need to be conducted in order to determine the widespread attitudes and beliefs of the experience of menstruation in Nigeria women, as well as what factors, other than those included in this study, may contribute to these attitudes and beliefs; There is a need for the development of a context-specific instrument measuring the attitudes and beliefs that women have towards their menstruation.; Education about menstruation is also of particular concern, as the majority of the sample in this study indicated feeling unprepared at the onset of menstruation; The stereotype of secrecy and taboo surrounding menstruation needs to be abolished in order to prepare young girls properly for menarche and in turn ensure that their attitudes and beliefs of menstruation are more positive.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Menstruation is a biological phenomenon laden with cultural implications. Individuals do not experience the body in a socio-cultural vacuum. In turn, women’s interpretations of the physiological and hormonal changes associated with menstruation cannot be understood outside of the social and historical context in which they live, which is influenced by the meaning ascribed to these menstrual changes by westernised medical discourses (Ussher, 2006). Throughout history, menstruation has been assigned roles that ranged from defining a woman’s status and social role to being seen as a curse that all women had to endure (Anjum, Zehra, Haider, Rani, Siddique & Munir, 2010). It is this positioning of the female reproductive body as inadequate and needing to be controlled, and of menstruation as a site of madness and debilitation, which provide the framework for women to interpret changes associated with menstruation as pathological symptoms (Ussher, 2006). For centuries, both medicine and religion have methodically devalued the roles assigned to females and excluded women from power in society through patriarchal beliefs about the female reproductive body (Cahill, 2001). This is still evident in many cultures and religions today (Tiwari, Oza & Tiwari, 2006; Umeora & Egwuatu, 2008).
All over the world women are encouraged by culture and religion to avoid certain activities such as cooking, working, praying and having sexual intercourse while menstruating, as they are considered to be in a state of uncleanliness (Buckley & Gottlieb, 1988). In many societies menstruation also encompasses an element of secrecy, where, although menarche may be celebrated as a developmental milestone, menstruation is regarded as something about which women should always be discreet (Marván & Molina-Abolnik, 2012). These restrictions during, and the secrecy surrounding menstruation, may in turn, impact negatively on womanhood by essentially assaulting the women psychologically, degrading their self-image and self-esteem, creating a feeling of shame and undermining the physiological significance of menstruation (Umeora & Egwuatu, 2008).