Spatial Analysis of Women’s Stress in Rural Areas (Case Study: Maneh District, Township of Maneh & Samalghan in Northern Khorasan Province)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD. Candidate of Geography and Rural Planning, Tarbiat Modares University, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Rural Development & Planning, Tarbiat Modares University, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Rural Development & Planning, Tarbiat Modares University, Iran


The new paradigm of development and specifically rural development focuses on the indicator whose purpose is to reach welfare and peace and also a quiet life with no stress. The nature of rural community which observes traditional communities’ customs and attitudes and their tendency to hide problems will be apparent over time. The most noticeable part is the outbreak of depression and social injury especially among the rural youngs and women. In rural areas, women often have low access to job opportunities, lower social support, inadequate care of children due to cooperating with the spouse or family in production processes, difficulties in getting services and transportation, etc. These issues will cause privation, inequality, insecurity, and thus psychical distress.
Some studies cover different parts including the initial effects of stress and health on changes to rural communities, studying negligence on stress and rural health and to some extent discovering stress levels in rural areas. Thus the findings suggested that stressors affecting rural people include personal characteristics (e.g., loneliness, hygiene), variety of relationships (e.g., abuse and care giving), hygienic services, factors of unemployment (e.g., restructuring the government, lack of fixed incomes), transportation, dwelling and social concerns (e.g., social capital or infrastructure). Also suggested that women with high stress tend to transfer negative emotionality into their families which cause less support for the sexual spouse, feeling unsatisfied with life conditions, little stability, and contradiction and conflict among household. Accordingly, rural health advocates often emphasize that rural residents compared to urban ones experience worse health conditions, which implies the fact that residing in rural areas is considered a potential risk for its residents. The issue of health is discussed considering women’s psychical stress in rural communities. Individuals’ health condition as one of the most important social categories and exposed to direct and indirect effects of both economic development and unequal range of incomes. According to definition presented by World Health Organization (WHO), health consists in not only lack of illness and paralysis but also individual’s perfect physical, psychical and social ease.
In this study, spatial analysis women’s stress in the rural of Maneh district in Northern Khorasan province has been discussed. Geographical approach is descriptive–analytic methodology. Sample quantity was determined through calculating some properties such as population rate in the rural areas, natural conditions of rural communities and also its distance of the city. In total 240 women were chosen out of 16 rural in Maneh district.
Calculating the ranking average of different kinds of stress, it would be concluded that economic, environmental and social stress, with the average of 27.9, 16.8 and 13.5 respectively, are considered the most to the least stress level among sample women. Also, results of sample rural’ clusteral categories concerning stress levels show the existence of 7 high stressed, 4 mid stressed and 5 low stressed rural. This study indicated there is meaningful deference between women’s total stress in rural of Maneh district and all the spatial-space factors in this study. So, in connection with various aspect of stress including economical stress, social stress and environmental stress indicate there is meaningful deference between women’s economical stress and spatial-space factors in rural areas. In connection with indicator of distance of county center, between women’s economical stress and their rate of county center, there is no meaningful deference. In relate on indicator of distance of district center, there is no meaningful deference between women’s social and environmental stress and rate of distance. As diverse studies indicated ration of rural women in labor in third world countries due to traditional production structure and labor relations is most of the men and women in developing countries. This is also true for rural women in Iran. Some study such as Red in 1995, Bachrach in 1983, Gregorie and Thornicroft in 1998 and Brannen et al. in 2009 noted that factors such as isolation, physical environment of rural, dependent on environmental factors, access problems services and etc., which further is related on spatial-space factors, defined as stressful factors for rural residents especially women and children.
There are many studies which tension less attention to spatial-space dimension in accession stress for rural residents, but in most cases rural residents suffered a lot of stress that are rooted in the physical and nature of rural. So, it is necessary focused health care facilities and services in rural areas, as well as growing evidence suggests there is inverse relationship between rate of distance to health care facilities and use it.