Using the theoretical perspective of intersectionality, this study aimed (1) to identify risk and resilience factors associated with mastery among Jewish and Bedouin young women in multiple marginalized locations, and (2) to explore the role of ethnicity as a possible moderator of the association between risk and resilience factors and mastery.
Methods: Study participants comprised 396 young women (aged 18-30), 151 of them Bedouin. Participants received social services from welfare or NGO services in the southern periphery of Israel. They were interviewed by phone using quantitative questionnaires. Hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to examine the contribution of risk and resilience factors to mastery. Lastly, the moderation effects of ethnicity on the associations between the other independent variables and mastery were explored using PROCESS v3.1 macro for SPSS.
Results: The entire set of independent variables accounted for 34.8% of the variance in mastery, F(12, 363) = 6.46, p < .001. The findings indicated that mastery was associated with ethnicity: Young Bedouin women had a lower sense of mastery. Low mastery was also associated with having a learning disability, other limitations/disabilities, or illness. In addition, higher levels of trauma, more risk behaviors, and use of more services all contributed to lower mastery. The coefficient of ethnicity remained significant in the final model. Finally, ethnicity moderated the association between mastery and risk behaviors as well as service use. Namely, this association was stronger among young Bedouin women.
Conclusions and Implications: The findings stress the need to use a critical social perspective to explore inequalities in mastery among different ethnic groups. The findings further support the intersectionality theory and point to the role of social categories and multiple locations that intersect and create a unique marginalized state whose influence, as a whole, is greater than the sum of its parts. Specifically, young Bedouin women were more vulnerable to experiencing lower mastery even compared to other women from various marginalized locations. A high contribution was also found of various social locations to lower mastery; on the other hand, resilience factors did not contribute to mastery once all the risk factors were taken under consideration. When providing services to young women there is a need to provide them in a way that increases mastery. More specific interventions in terms of policy and service provisions to strengthen the mastery of young women in marginalized locations will be discussed.