The present study made an attempt to gain insights on determinants and psychosocial consequences of early marriage on rural women. Samples of 300 women who married early and have completed 5 to 15 years of married life were taken from 20 villages of district Bhilwara, Rajasthan as it has highest instances of child marriages. In depth investigation employed the use of interview, FGDs, observation and case study method. Research was based in district. Baseline Proforma and SES scale (self developed) was used to get the necessary details regarding the socio-economic status and demographic characteristics of respondents and their families. DEM scale (self developed), PSC Scale (self developed) and life satisfaction scale (Alam & Shrivastava, 1973) were used for data collection. Statistical test i.e. ‘z’ test, ANOVA, Regression & Pearson’s ‘r’ were applied to find out the results.
The findings of the study revealed that age at marriage is governed by various components of socio-economic status with traditions & customs, lack of education, childhood residence and castes. Effect of mass media was not found as hypothesized. Media is only meant for entertainment by rural people. The study also highlighted psycho-social consequences (PSC components) of early marriage. It was found that child marriage increases exploitation of girl child and loss of her adolescence along with denial of education & freedom, inadequate socialization & personal development and violence & abandonment. Access to contraception is highly correlated with age at marriage i.e. the lower the age at marriage lower the knowledge and less access of contraception.
The multiple regression analysis in predicting age at marriage and its determinants reveal that the Beta coefficient reflect the socio- economic status of the family and in which a girl belongs has more considerable contribution in terms of early marriage while traditions and customs follow the socio-cultural perseverance in predicting age at marriage. It is also depicted from the regression analysis that the ill consequences of early marriage in earlier ages have more awful effects on girl child. On the whole, it was found that early marriage itself means exploitation of girl child and loss of adolescence. This factor is highly significant in all studied age groups. They are treated as homely bird which means confined to four walls of house. Overall dissatisfaction level is high with the respondents who get married at the early age. There are significant correlation found between determinants and psycho-social consequences of early marriage and inter-correlation among LS and SES components.