Muslim women's narratives about bodily change and care during critical illness: a qualitative study

J Nurs Scholarsh. 2012 Mar;44(1):99-107. doi: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2011.01427.x. Epub 2011 Dec 5.


Purpose: To explore experiences of Jordanian Muslim women in relation to bodily change during critical illness.

Design: A longitudinal narrative approach was used. A purposive sample of 16 Jordanian women who had spent a minimum of 48 hr in intensive care participated in one to three interviews over a 6-month period.

Findings: Three main categories emerged from the analysis: the dependent body reflects changes in the women's bodily strength and performance, as they moved from being care providers into those in need of care; this was associated with experiences of a sense of paralysis, shame, and burden. The social body reflects the essential contribution that family help or nurses' support (as a proxy for family) made to women's adjustment to bodily change and their ability to make sense of their illness. The cultural body reflects the effect of cultural norms and Islamic beliefs on the women's interpretation of their experiences and relates to the women's understandings of bodily modesty.

Conclusions: This study illustrates, by in-depth focus on Muslim women's narratives, the complex interrelationship between religious beliefs, cultural norms, and the experiences and meanings of bodily changes during critical illness.

Clinical relevance: This article provides insights into vital aspects of Muslim women's needs and preferences for nursing care. It highlights the importance of including an assessment of culture and spiritual aspects when nursing critically ill patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Body Image*
  • Critical Care / psychology*
  • Critical Illness
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islam / psychology*
  • Jordan
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Care / psychology*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult