Polygamous Marriages: An Arab-Islamic Perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Polygyny is the most common form of polygamy found around the world. Polygamy is broadly classified as marriage between an individual and multiple spouses; polygyny, however, is specifically concerned with the phenomenon of a man with multiple spouses. Taking an Arabic-Islamic perspective, this chapter presents an overview of the existing literature on women in polygynous marriages, with a specific focus on the association between marital status and mental health issues. It discusses reasons why men marry more than once, making reference to social pressures and the role of the Islamic faith. It also addresses the dynamics and impacts of the hierarchy of the different wives in a polygynous family, as well as the phenomenon of “First Wife Syndrome” which emerges from the practice of polygyny. Insights are also presented on the educational, social, and other challenges faced by children in the polygynous family structure. The chapter summarizes identified implications for mental health practice, along with suggestions for future lines of research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCouple Relationships in a Global Context: Understanding Love and Intimacy Across Cultures
EditorsAngela Abela, Sue Vella, Suzanne Piscopo
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-37712-0
StatePublished - 2020


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