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Public Health


Patrick A. Tschida


Breast ironing (BI) practice is a common practice in Cameroon. Most villages and towns continue with BI because they believe it constitutes a positive cultural lifestyle. However, public health officials and other advocates have branded BI as a harmful traditional practice because of the traumatic impact it has on the women who experience it. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to examine the perceived long-term health-related outcomes of BI and the quality of life changes on these women. Underpinning this study was the betrayal theory of trauma. A survey was used to collect data from 230 women. Descriptive analysis of the data showed, BI was more prevalent in some regions of Cameroon and among some ethnic groups more than others. A chi-square test revealed a strong relationship that women who experienced BI perceived long-term physical, psycho-social, and emotional health-related outcomes and negative quality of life changes during and after the practice. A multiple logistic regression model was conducted to examine the relative odds of exposure of other independent predictors on the outcome variable. The chi-square test on severe pain and marital/ family health; breast scars and frequent pain; stress and feeling inferior; sadness and pain, revealed a P-value < .001. The odd ratio (OR) of the confounding predictors breast scars, frustration, shame, depression, self-esteem; burns; abscesses revealed an Exp(B)/ OR

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