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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2006 Jan;52(1):5-17.

A comparison of family functioning, life and marital satisfaction, and mental health of women in polygamous and monogamous marriages.

Author information

1
Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. alean@bgumail.bgu.ac.il

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A considerable body of research concludes that the polygamous family structure has an impact on children's and wives' psychological, social and family functioning.

AIMS:

The present study is among the first to consider within the same ethno-racial community such essential factors as family functioning, life satisfaction, marital satisfaction and mental health functioning among women who are in polygamous marriages and women who are in monogamous marriages.

METHOD:

A sample of 352 Bedouin-Arab women participated in this study: 235 (67%) were in a monogamous marriage and 117 (33%) were in a polygamous marriage.

RESULTS:

Findings reveal differences between women in polygamous and monogamous marriages. Women in polygamous marriages showed significantly higher psychological distress, and higher levels of somatisation, phobia and other psychological problems. They also had significantly more problems in family functioning, marital relationships and life satisfaction.

CONCLUSION:

The article calls on public policy and social service personnel to increase public awareness of the significance of polygamous family structures for women's wellbeing.

PMID:
16463591
DOI:
10.1177/00207640060061245
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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