Why do Jordanian women stay in an abusive relationship: implications for health and social well-being

J Nurs Scholarsh. 2009;41(4):376-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2009.01305.x.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore why Jordanian women stay with an abusive husband.

Design: The study used a qualitative approach to collect data from 28 abused women who were recruited through their community during the summer and fall of 2007.

Methods: Data were collected using an open-ended question through one-on-one in-depth interviews.

Findings: Results from analysis of the qualitative data revealed that abused Jordanian women identified five main reasons for staying with an abusive husband: the inherited social background, financial dependency, lack of family support, sacrificing self for the sake of the children, and the adverse social consequences of divorce.

Conclusions: The results indicate that Jordanian women are strongly bound by traditions and cultural rules and lack all means of empowerment. Results of the study have implications for healthcare providers, social workers, policy makers, and educators to enhance the health and social well-being of Arab Muslim women in Jordan. The findings may also apply to Arab families immigrating to the United States, Canada, and Europe who tend to bring their cultural beliefs, values, and norms, and may help healthcare professionals dealing with violence against women in these countries.

Clinical relevance: Healthcare professionals worldwide need to play an instrumental role in providing culture-specific and evidence-based care to empower women staying in abusive relationships, taking into consideration the influence of Arab Muslim culture.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arabs / ethnology
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Battered Women / education
  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Custody
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Divorce / ethnology
  • Family / ethnology
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islam / psychology
  • Jordan
  • Marriage / ethnology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Power, Psychological
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / ethnology*
  • Women's Rights