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Daughters at risk of female genital mutilation: examining the determinants of mothers' intentions to allow their daughters to undergo female genital mutilation

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is still a common practice in many countries in Africa and the Middle East. Understanding the determinants of FGM can lead to more active interventions to prevent this harmful practice. The goal of this study is to explore factors associated with FGM behavior among Iranian mothers and their daughters. Based on Ajzen's theory of planned behavior, we examined the predictive value of attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control and several socio-demographic variables in relation to mothers' intentions to mutilate their daughters. A paper-and-pencil survey was conducted among 300 mothers (mean age = 33.20, SD = 9.09) who had at least one daughter and who lived in Ravansar, a county in Kermanshah Province in Iran. Structural equation modeling was used to investigate the relationships among the study variables. Our results indicate that attitude is the strongest predictor of mothers' intentions to allow their daughters to undergo FGM, followed by subjective norms. Compared to younger mothers, older mothers have more positive attitudes toward FGM, perceive themselves as having more control over their behavior and demonstrate a greater intention to allow their daughter to undergo FGM. Furthermore, we found that less educated mothers and mothers living in rural areas had more positive attitudes toward FGM and feel more social pressure to allow FGM. The model accounts for 93 percent of the variance in the mothers' intentions to allow their daughters to undergo FGM. Intervention programs that want to decrease FGM might focus primarily on converting mothers' neutral or positive feelings toward FGM into negative attitudes and on alleviating the perceived social pressure to mutilate one's daughter. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations about how to curtail mothers' intentions to allow their daughters to undergo FGM.
Journal: PLOS ONE
ISSN: 1932-6203
Issue: 3
Volume: 11
Publication year:2016