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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Reproductive Health 1/2017

Factors associated with the support of pricking (female genital cutting type IV) among Somali immigrants – a cross-sectional study in Sweden

Reproductive Health > Ausgabe 1/2017
Anna Wahlberg, Sara Johnsdotter, Katarina Ekholm Selling, Carina Källestål, Birgitta Essén
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12978-017-0351-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Pricking, classified as female genital cutting (FGC) type IV by the World Health Organization, is an under-researched area gaining momentum among diaspora communities. Our aim was to explore factors associated with being supportive of pricking among Somalis in Sweden.


In a cross-sectional design, attitudes and knowledge regarding FGC, and measures of socioeconomic status, acculturation, and social capital, were assessed by a 49-item questionnaire in four municipalities in Sweden. Data were collected in 2015 from 648 Somali men and women, ≥ 18 years old, of which 113 supported the continuation of pricking. Logistic regression was used for the analysis.


Those more likely to support the continuation of pricking were older, originally from rural areas, and newly arrived in Sweden. Further, those who reported that they thought pricking was: acceptable, according to their religion (aOR: 10.59, 95% CI: 5.44–20.62); not a violation of children’s rights (aOR: 2.86, 95% CI: 1.46–5.61); and did not cause long-term health complications (aOR: 5.52, 95% CI: 2.25–13.52) had higher odds of supporting pricking. Religion was strongly associated with the support of pricking among both genders. However, for men, children’s rights and the definition of pricking as FGC or not were important aspects in how they viewed pricking, while, for women, health complications and respectability were important.


Values known to be associated with FGC in general are also related to pricking. Hence, there seems to be a change in what types of FGC are supported rather than in their perceived values.
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