Pregnancy as status enhancement: a study of Muslim women in the Philippines

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The study examines the extent to which pregnancy is perceived as a means of status enhancement through interviews of a sample of 118 currently married Muslim women. Data for the study were collected from the Northern Mindanao Region of the Philippines. This study is part of a larger study that included both Christians and Muslims. The Christian sample was the subject of an earlier study by Bautista (1986).

Socio-demographic variables included in analyzing pregnancy as status-enhancing were: age, educational attainment, socio-economic status, social activity, modern role orientation, and the total number of pregnancies. Multiple regression analysis indicated modern role orientation as the only significant variable to influence pregnancy as status-enhancing. Age and education of the respondents were found to have significant effects on the total number of pregnancies. Direct and indirect effects of independent variables (age, education, and socio-economic status) on pregnancy status and the total number of pregnancies were also tested.

Findings reported by Bautista (1986) on Christian respondents were also found similar to the present study on Muslim respondents: Muslim women tend to regard pregnancy as status-enhancing rather than status-degrading. However, the expected effect of pregnancy status upon the total number of pregnancies was not supported. The study hopes to stimulate more interest on the area of pregnancy status and fertility behavior.