Sense of coherence among Bedouin women in polygamous marriages compared to women in monogamous marriages

Nihaya Daoud, Alexandra Berger-Polsky, Sarah Abu-Kaf, Shifra Sagy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We compared sense of coherence (SOC) among Bedouin women in polygamous with those in monogamous marriages. SOC is a global orientation toward life as comprehensible, manageable, and meaningful, and is derived from generalized resistance resources that promote effective coping in stressful life situations. Strong SOC may be a resource for strengthening resilience and promoting health. We administered questionnaires to 464 Indigenous Arab Bedouin women (ages 18–49 years) in 2008–2009 using the 13-item SOC questionnaire. Contrary to our hypothesis, SOC was higher among women in polygamous compared to monogamous marriages. Husband‘s education, husband’s abandonment of the household, living in unrecognized villages, and low mastery (perception of one’s ability to control life situations) were associated with higher SOC. These results might suggest that polygamy may provoke new coping mechanisms among women as they reappraise life amidst low mastery, accept cultural norms, and marshal new resources, thereby increasing key elements of SOC, including comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness. Interventions and services seeking to empower women in polygamous marriages should build on their resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-59
Number of pages17
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • Bedouin women
  • Sense of coherence (SOC)
  • cultural context
  • polygamous marriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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