Divorce, nowadays an increasingly more prevalent life event in Iran, can create poor general health among Iranian women, possibly due to bigger challenges for health-related behaviors. The aim was to explore challenges to achieve health-related behaviors as experienced by divorced Iranian women acting as household-heads. An inductive exploratory design based on qualitative content analysis was utilized. Twenty strategically selected divorced women acting as household-heads in Tehran were interviewed between September 2019 and January 2020. The divorced women experienced individual-centered and social and environmental-centered challenges concerning their health-related behaviors. Lack of competence, lack of personal control, and lack of emotional support were described as individual-centered barriers. Lack of community-based support, lack of financial support, and lack of labor market support were described as social and environmental challenges to health-related behaviors. A wide range of individual, social, and environmental-centered factors hindered divorced women acting as household-heads to engage in health-related behaviors. Therefore, person-centered interventions are necessary alongside efforts to develop appropriate policies and amend protection laws to increase the welfare and health of divorced women acting as household-heads.


divorced women, household-heads, health, health barriers, qualitative analysis

Author Bio(s)

Farzaneh Golboni is a Ph.D. candidate in health promotion when the study was designed. With a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Midwifery, and several years of clinical practice. This manuscript is related to her dissertation.

Dr. Zainab Alimoradi (Co-Corresponding Author) is Associate Professor of Midwifery and Reproductive Health in Qazvin University of Medical Sciences. She is supervisor and advisor of several thesis in midwifery counseling. Also, she is director of Social Determinants of Health Research Center. She is interested in sexual and reproductive health, Adolescent’s health and social determinants of health with 80 related peer-reviewed research papers. She has contributed as an author in 9 books. Please direct correspondence to zainabalimoradi@yahoo.com.

Dr. Bengt Fridlund RNAN, RNT, BSc in Pedagogy, PhD, is a senior professor in emergency care as well as in cardiovascular care.

Dr. Liselott Årestedt RN, PhD, is Deputy Head of Department of Health and Caring Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Linnaeus University.

Dr. Mark Griffiths is a Chartered Psychologist and Distinguished Professor of Behavioural Addiction at the Nottingham Trent University, and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit. He is internationally known for his work in behavioral addictions. He has published over 1300 peer-reviewed research papers, six books, and over 180 book chapters. He has won 24 national and international awards for his research.

Dr. Anders Broström RN, MSc in Nursing, PhD, is a professor in nursing as well as in Health and Care Science, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden and holds a position as senior researcher at the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Linköping University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden.

Dr. Amir H. Pakpour (Co-Corresponding Author) is professor of health psychology working in Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden. Please direct correspondence to amir.pakpour@gmail.com.


All of the participants who participated in this study are thanked. The Vice-chancellor (Research) of Qazvin University of Medical Sciences has provided financial support to this project. The funding body had no role in the design of the study, collection, analysis, interpretation of data and writing the manuscript.

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