Date of Conferral





Public Health


Paige Wermuth


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced primarily in many African countries as well as some in Asia and the Arab Peninsula; however, it also takes place elsewhere around the globe among those who migrate from countries to which it is indigenous. This study was designed (a) to investigate the prevalence of FGM among the Igbo women in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area in Texas and (b) to understand the factors that support the continuation of the practice and the effects on women's sexual health. Using a quantitative approach to examine a variety of social variables aligning with the ecological framework, survey data obtained from a sample of 139 Igbo women living in the DFW area were analyzed using a multivariate analysis. Results of the study demonstrated a decreasing prevalence of FGM from maternal incidence (46%), to second generation incidence (31.3%), and future intention for FGM (25%). Nearly half of the responding participants felt the practice was required by their religion, but over 65% felt the practice should be discontinued. Results supported a high incidence of dangerous complications to women's sexual health with the continued practice of FGM. Significant social influences associated with future intention for FGM among the population were found at the micro- and exosystem ecological levels. The findings of this research provide important information on current prevalence and health effects of FGM in Igbo women living in the DFW area. Understanding the reasons behind the culture of FGM will assist public health professionals in designing appropriate culturally-specific intervention strategies that will help to eliminate inappropriate and unsafe practices associated with FGM.