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16.05.2019 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 6/2019

Journal of Religion and Health 6/2019

The Differential Impact of Religion on Self-Reported Health Among Serbian Roma Women

Journal of Religion and Health > Ausgabe 6/2019
Jelena Čvorović
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The present paper offers an account of how self-reported health varies with religious affiliation and reproductive effort among Serbian Roma women. Data were collected in 2014–2018 in two Roma semi-urban settlements in central Serbia. The sample consisted of 177 Christian and 127 Muslim women, averaging 54 years of age. In addition to religious affiliation (Christianity/Islam), demographic data, reproductive histories, data on self-reported and children’s health were collected, along with height and weight, and smoking status. Christian and Muslim Roma women differed significantly on a number of variables, with Muslim women reporting poorer health and higher reproductive effort. Among Roma women religion may be an important determinant of reproductive and fertility patterns, largely because it may have formed an important foundation upon which identity is based. This study adds to the literature on the cross-cultural relevance of the ways religion shapes reproductive behaviors for understanding the health variations of women from the same ethnic group who profess different religions.

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