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Freewill verses Determinism: a Psychoanalysis of Divorce issues in Pakistan.

Byline: arshad syed Karim and Maryam Zafar Janjuah

Freewill and determinism are two psychological forces which influence human behavior in social life. Generally speaking, their influence plays a constructive role in taking the action in the social system by an individual. This study focuses attention on analyzing psychological behavior of an individual with reference to freewill and determination to examine the cause of divorce as a social issue in Pakistani society. The research is based on Questionnaire Survey of limited part of Karachi covering an affluent area such as Defense and Clifton localities. The objective of the research was to explore the psychological conflict of freewill and determinism in human mind.

Keywords: Freewill, Determinism, Psychoanalysis, Divorce, Pakistani Society


Freewill is an individual taking control and responsibility for his/her actions according to his personal will. In other words freewill is set to be a belief which is self-determined and acts upon one's freedom to choose his/her behaviors. With freewill an individual remains responsible for his/her act and behavior.

Determinism is a reaction of a person already set as a pre-programmed commands" emerging from within with automatic responses from the brain. Therefore in determination a person's action is out of his/her control as it emerges from the circumstances or environments he/she is surrounded with. Therefore determination is opposite of freewill as far as act of behavior of a person is considered.

Divorce is an act. It is dissolution of marriage leading to termination of matrimonial union which is based on legal duties and responsibilities of a binding of husband and wife in a society. Divorce depends on: freewill or determinism. If one partner of the couple has freewill he/she becomes more forceful for the demand of the divorce. Whereas divorce is also caused because of determination when there emerges certain circumstances or existing environment. In the life of a couple which prefer to disclose its legal matrimonial binding.

Divorce is found very common in western societies particularly in US as much as it runs into over 50% among the martial couples. (Desai, 2007). Generally speaking western society strongly belief in self-liberty which develops their people's mind into a common living with freewill. Therefore, divorce in western societies generally is based on the belief of freewill. However determination is also responsible for divorce in western societies.

In case of Pakistan it is more of determinism than freewill which plays role in dissolution of a marriage. However, the increasing economic independence and higher education among the females in Pakistan are becoming a forceful element in developing the belief of freewill among them along with that there is rise of westernization in Pakistani society, particularly because of electronic media which has affected the psychological trend of freewill in both the males and the females of the younger generation.

This study analyzes the causes of divorce based on freewill and determinism as a question mark. The purpose is finding out a difference between old and new values of the existing society of Pakistan; on one hand based on tradition and modernism and on the other hand a contractual psychological development of mind of the younger generation based on freewill or determinism. The study will make a basis of statistical data collected for the analysis to draw a conclusion.


Dissolution of marriages is the final termination of a matrimonial union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties. It has been seen that the divorce rate has been increased by 30% every year. Physical abuse is not as common as it was earlier but the real problem lies in the awareness of man and a woman that is incompatibility is the major factor that increases the likelihood of divorce. (Ahmed, 2007). In Lahore city alone more than 100 divorces were registered in family courts in a day. Career-oriented women are more prone to taking divorce than housewives. They were of the opinion that forced marriages, lust, infidelity, joint family system, misunderstandings, lack of trust, financial pressures and differences in social status amounted to other reasons for a high divorce rate. Even couples having children don't hesitate from taking divorce now.

Divorce rates are higher among couples between the ages of 22 to 30 and the cause of increased divorce is the status of women, women being financially strong doesn't feel the need to compromise (Rao, 2011). It is concluded that thinking about divorce, while it had some of the same correlates as marital dissatisfaction and divorce itself, exhibited unique patterns as well. Age at marriage, marital duration, religiosity and income were found to have an effect on thinking about divorce that is independent of their effect on marital dissatisfaction. Furthermore, while wife's employment did not have a strong influence on marital dissatisfaction, it was an important factor in permitting thoughts about divorce. It also showed that there are powerful factors which operate to keep some unhappy husbands and wives from even thinking about divorce and other factors which encourage some happily married people to consider dissolving their marriages. (Booth and White, 2011).

The Effect of Parents' Attitudes towards Divorce on Offspring's Attitudes by (Kapinus, 2004) was also reviewed. This study addressed three questions: (a) what influence do parents' attitudes towards divorce have on off spring's attitudes (b) How are offspring's attitudes toward divorce influenced by parental divorce, and do the effects vary depending on the gender of the child and (c) How do conditions surrounding parental divorce influence young adults' attitudes Results indicated that parents had the greatest influence on offspring during the late teen years. Fathers had more influence on sons' attitudes than mothers; the gender of parent had no effect on the influence of parents' attitudes on daughters' attitudes. In contrast to prior research, this study found that parental divorce continues to influence offspring's views of divorce after controlling for parents attitudes only for daughters, not for sons.

Post-divorce conflict and diminished closeness to father following the divorce had different effects on sons' and daughters' attitudes.

According to a Gallup poll, (Impatience and Divorce Rates,2010) while nearly half of all Pakistanis (48%) believed that the rate of divorce had increased, a significant 32% believed that there had been no notable change in divorce rate in the last ten years, whereas 19% claimed it had decreased. Amongst various factors causing an increase in divorce rate, lack of patience topped the list as cited by 48%, followed by disconnect with religion (33%), influence of western culture (27%), women giving priority to their careers (12%), and men's lack of interest in their marriage. The survey was carried out among a sample of 2698 men and women in rural and urban areas of all four provinces of the country, during May 2010.

Research Methodology

The contents of this report can be categorized in descriptive research. The research design used in this research paper consisted of:


Secondary data studies

Tool of research used for the data collection was self-administrated questionnaire. Data was collected through questionnaires which were distributed to various unmarried, married and divorced individuals. Secondary data is collected using the Internet. Google (search engine) and Wikipedia (encyclopedia) were used. Some of the data was also collected through articles. The data gathered through questionnaires served as primary data. There are two demographic variables in this report:



The data was extracted from Defense and Clifton .The research is based on 100 questionnaires filled out by various individuals belonging to different age groups. Their views of divorced were recorded

Analysis of Data

The research is filled out by various individuals of different age groups consisting of married, unmarried and divorced. The analysis showed is as follows:

64% of the respondent considers divorce as morally unacceptable while 36% doesn't accept it morally. However1 the divorce rate is increased by 55%, while the rest 23% thinks that the rate is same as before.

People generally hold man and women equally for the divorce; however 28% of them blame relatives whereas 16 and 14% lies in the scale of both man and women.

The increasing number of the divorces has become a major problem for the society, however the reason behind all this is of different aspects which consists of religion, lack of patience, being career oriented or due to western influence. However study shows that most of the respondent belief its due to away from religion , others blame lack of patience and no compromise from both sides and women being career oriented, while others believe that its due western culture in our society.

The effect of the divorce on children varies according to their age, gender and stage of development. They feel unloved and left out, and blame themselves for the cause of the spilt of their parents and have trouble in school, low esteem and have greater increase of some sort of criminal behavior. More than 40% of the respondents think that a disturbed personality of parents is the worst impact of divorce on a child. Moreover, 35% people think that the low esteem is the worst impact of divorce on a child while rest of the respondent think that social isolation is the worst impact of divorce on a child.


Divorce is morally unacceptable to the majority of people. The divorce rate has increased not only in the upper class of the society but also going on in the lower class.

People generally hold both men and women equally responsible for a divorce.

Majority of the people believe that being away from religion is the primary cause for divorces happening around us. A large number of people also are of the view that lack of patience is the primary cause that leads to divorce.

Most of the people are of the opinion that in our society, women are the ones who face more trouble in being accepted by the society after their divorce.

When asked what you think is the impact of divorce on a person's life, most people said he/she faces trouble coping up with daily routine. However, a distinct mass of people also said that there occurs a significant change in that person's social behavior.

Most people think that a disturbed personality is the worst effect of divorce on a child.

People are of the opinion that the attitude of society towards families whose members have had divorce is negative; people in our society raise fingers on them when they meet others in social circles.

Majority of the people think that to avoid a divorce from happening, the couple should resolve the conflict through talks and dialogue. However, a vast number of people also believe that both the husband and the wife should exercise patience to save their marriage.

Divorce usually has long lasting effects on children. It might be an easy solution to parent conflict, but possess a serious threat to the child's psychological and social health. , commitment is necessary for the marriage to workout. Tolerance is also needed, and patience is the key to a successful marriage.

However lots of people are not responsible for their actions as they are bound by the circumstances and environment and making the same mistakes again and again. No matter how much belief on freewill and determination it still comes down to the circumstances and environment around us.


Ahmed, U. (2007, March 3). Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - Divorce rate rising 30% yearly over incompatibility. Retrieved September 20th, 2011, from

Baloch, S. (2011, September 8). Effects of Divorce on Children." Pakistan Today. Latest news, Breaking news, Pakisan News, World news, business, sport and multimedia. Retrieved from Pakistan Today E-Paper:

Booth, A. and White, L. (1980). Thinking about Divorce." Journal of Marriage and Family. 42. p. 12.

Gilani, D. I. (2010). GALLUP 55% hold Men and Women Equally Responsible. Islamabad. Gallup Pakistan.

Gilani, D. I. (2010). GALLUP Poll result (Impatience and Divorce Rates). Islamabad. Gallup Pakistan.

Kapinus, C. A. (2004). The Effect of Parents' Attitudes toward Divorce on Offspring's Attitudes. Journal of Family Issues. 25 (1). pp.112-135.

Nayyab. (2010, June 16). Pakistan Divorce Rate Increasing. Why" Nayyab's Blog. Retrieved from

Rao, I. (2011, June Sunday, 26). Divorce Rates Climb." Pakistan Today | Latest News, Breaking News, Pakistan News, World News, business, sport and multimedia. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from Pakistan Today:

Thorton, A. (1985). Changing Attitudes towards Separation and Divorce: Causes and Consequences. American Journal of Sociology. 90 (4), p.17.
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Publication:New Horizons
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 30, 2015
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