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The psychological impact of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) on girls/women’s mental health: a narrative literature review

Mulongo, Peggy; Hollins Martin, Caroline; McAndrew, Sue


Peggy Mulongo

Sue McAndrew


Background: female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is the procedure of removing healthy external genitalia from girls/women for socio-cultural reasons. There is much scientific literature on the adverse physical health complications that can result from having FGM/C, but little is known about its psychological impact and treatment. Objective: to identify psychological problems that may follow from a woman having FGM/C and success of treatment herein, and relate findings to the role of the maternity care professional.
Study design: a structured narrative review, which identified 10 studies, was carried out.
Findings: eight of ten studies reported psychological consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and affective disorders. Also identified were socio-cultural differences in the meaning of perceived consequences for different individuals. Two studies reported inconclusive results regarding the psychological impact of FGM/C on women’s lives.
Key conclusion: while these findings provide an indication of adverse psychological effects of women/girls having FGM/C, more studies are needed. In particular, studies that focus on the role that cutting extent, circumstances surrounding the cutting, and girls’ level of knowledge of what was going to take place, and their relationships to psychological outcomes.
Implications for practice:raising awareness of the risk of negative psychological consequences is important, with maternal health care professionals requiring training on how to treat and care for women/girls who are suffering problems that result from having FGM/C.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 25, 2014
Online Publication Date Sep 19, 2014
Publication Date 2014
Deposit Date Jul 29, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jul 29, 2015
Print ISSN 0264-6838
Electronic ISSN 1469-672X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 5
Pages 469-485
Keywords Anxiety, circumcision, female genital mutilation/cutting, midwifery, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological, trauma
Public URL
Contract Date Jul 29, 2015


Psychological impact of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) on girls/women’s mental health: a narrative literature review (accepted version) (231 Kb)

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