Prevalence, health and social hazards, and attitude toward early marriage in ever-married women, Sohag, Upper Egypt

Document Type : Original Article


Public Health and Community Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Sohag University, Sohag, Egypt


Background: Early marriage is associated with many social, physical, and health problems and it is common in many developing countries including Egypt. Many factors affect the decision of the timing of marriage. In this study, we aim to estimate the prevalence, social and health hazards and to identify the attitudes and factors that affect attitudes toward early marriage.
Patients and Methods: This cross-sectional study was done in Sohag, Upper Egypt. Random samples of ever-married women aged 20–60 years were taken from six districts. A questionnaire was designed to collect the data.
Results: The prevalence of early marriage is about 60%. The associated self-reported health and social hazards included: anemia (18%), hemorrhage (27.5%), uterine prolapse (37%), preterm (36%), low birth weight (31%), delayed immunization of infants (94%), separation from the husband (17%), and discontinuation of education (23%). About 42% of the studied population supported early marriage. Reasons for supporting include: to prevent premarital promiscuity (35%) and difficulty to get married later (28%). Reasons for not supporting include: being harmful to mothers (26%), difficulty in childcare, and discontinuation of education (18% each). Final models of factors significantly affecting women’s attitudes indicated that the factors for not supporting early marriage were: attaining higher education and believing that early marriage is due to ignorance, is more common among relatives, and causes health or social problems.
Conclusion: Early marriage is still very common in Sohag. Including the hazards of early marriage in the curriculum of preparatory and secondary schools as well as encouraging girls to complete their education up to the university stage will help in decreasing this problem.