Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Perspectives of Muslim husbands' roles in women's health and cancer in Indonesia

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posted on 2021-11-23, 00:32 authored by Widiasih, Restuning

In developing countries such as Indonesia, women face many health issues, including cancer. Social, cultural and economic factors are known barriers to women accessing health services and achieving a good health. Studies in Indonesia suggest that husbands’ support may influence women’s health behaviour, including women in breast and cervical screening and treatments. However, little is known in Indonesia about husbands’ roles in women’s health, including illness prevention, early detection, and treatment of women’s cancer. The main objectives of this study were to uncover Muslim husbands’ roles and perspectives regarding women’s health and women’s cancer, and to establish whether there were different perspectives of husbands’ roles related to geographical location, age or other social, health or cultural characteristics. This study used an Islamic ontological approach. The Basic Model of Religiosity and Health, the Health Belief Model, and the Help-Seeking Behaviour and Influencing Factors Framework theories informed data collection. A descriptive exploratory methodology was used. Methods included focus groups with 11 groups (n=73) of married Muslim men, and interviews with married Muslim women (n=20) and health professionals (n=10) from rural and urban areas of West Java province, Indonesia. Data were analysed using two techniques: the Comparative Analysis for Focus Group and the Comparative Analysis for Interviews. The findings revealed that Islamic teaching has an extremely significant position for Muslims husbands in guiding them in their family’s roles. Muslim husbands were very involved in women’s health and cancer. These roles were influenced by internal and external factors. Husbands’ significant roles in women’s health include maintaining women’s health and facilitating health treatments. However, they have a limited role in disease prevention, and early detection of women’s cancer. Muslim husbands’ limited health literacy of women’s cancer was a significant barrier in rural and downtown areas. This study’s findings contribute to a new perspective on religion as a vital influence and driver of health and health behaviour in nursing theory. There is a need for Indonesian nursing practice to incorporate a cultural safety approach to caring for Muslim husbands and wives, and for nurses to ensure men are more fully informed about women’s health. This study identified the need for improvements in health services and a reform of the health system especially in improving husbands’ knowledge and awareness of women’s cancer, and the dissemination of information about women’s cancer services, especially in rural and downtown areas. Additional health education programmes including some that target men’s health literacy are required alongside improvements in health services, especially women’s cancer services.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Doctor of Philosophy

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



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Victoria University of Wellington School

Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health


Nelson, Katherine; Skinner, Joan