Somatization Among Bedouin-Arab Women: Differentiated by Marital Status Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: The tendency to experience and communicate distress in a somatic rather than a psychological mode is widespread in Western and other societies. This article is focused on the Bedouin-Arab women in the Negev. Methods: A convenience snowball sampling of 217 Bedouin-Arab women from the Negev, Israel, completed the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, the Derogatis Symptom Checklist-Revised (SCL-90-R), the McMaster Family Assessment Device (FAD), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), and health behaviour questions. Results: Divorced women express the strongest sense of loneliness, the married women reported the strongest sense of having someone to talk to about their problems. Divorced women, more than single or married women, reported more somatization, paranoid ideation, obsessive-compulsion, depression, anxiety, phobic anxiety and psychoticism, lower self-esteem and more family problems, and lower satisfaction with life. Conclusions: The findings reveal the significant impact of divorce upon somatic complaints. The study helps researchers and practitioners to understand the significance of divorce, and also the psychosocial needs of divorced women in the Bedouin-Arab culture. In addition, clinical implications are discussed, in relation to ethno-specific experiences of somatization and its relationship with marital status.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004