Emirati women’s experiences of consanguineous marriage: A qualitative exploration of attitudes, health challenges, and coping styles
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractConsanguineous marriage is associated with increased risk of congenital physical disabilities, as well as behavioural and mental health problems among consanguineous offspring. Furthermore, mental health problems have been highlighted as being prevalent among women involved in consanguineous marriages. Despite this, there has been limited research exploring the lived experiences of consanguineous marriage among women living in the United Arab Emirates, where up to 39% of all marriages are consanguineous. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of Emirati women involved in a consanguineous marriage in order to improve understanding of the experiential challenges faced by such individuals. Six Emirati women involved in a consanguineous marriage attended a focus group, and a thematic analysis of the interview transcript was subsequently undertaken. Five master themes emerged from the dataset: (i) Reasons for Marrying Consanguineously, (ii) Awareness and Fear of Hereditary Diseases, (iii) Emotional and Psychological Challenges, (iv) Coping Mechanisms, and (v) Confidence in Consanguineous Marriages. The master themes indicated a high level of family and parental influence as well as a cultural/traditional paradigm as being key causes for entering into a consanguineous marriage. Emotional and mental health challenges arouse due to the fear of genetic problems among offspring as well as difficulties coming to terms with consanguineous marriage dynamics. Self-help coping strategies were identified such as participants turning to religion in times of need, while shunning professional psychological help. Despite these challenges, participants generally retained confidence in the consanguineous marriage process. Findings shed light on the personal and health challenges experienced by Emirati women involved in consanguineous marriages, and highlight the need for further research to better understand the support needs of this population group.
CitationVan Buren, F. and Van Gordon, W., (2019). 'Emirati women’s experiences of consanguineous marriage: a qualitative exploration of attitudes, health challenges, and coping styles. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, pp.1-15. DOI: 10.1007/s11469-019-00123-z.
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction