Women from Polygamous and Monogamous Marriages in an Out-Patient Psychiatric Clinic

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Ninety-two Bedouin-Arab women were interviewed using a semi-structured open-ended questionnaire. The subjects were divided into two groups: (1) senior wives in polygamous marriages (N= 53); and (2) wives in monogamous marriages (N= 39). The data revealed that, in general, women from both types of marriages reported a wide variety of symptoms, and comparably high incidences of somatization, nervousness, poor appetite and trouble remembering. There was a greater prevalence of various symptoms among polygamous respondents, two of which are of particular interest: low self-esteem and loneliness. Findings also showed a relationship between a high number of female children among polygamous respondents and low self-esteem. Polygamous respondents who thought that they were perceived as old by their husbands also reported low selfesteem. In addition, respondents from polygamous marriages reported poor relationships with their husbands. Implications for further research and intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-199
Number of pages13
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001


  • Bedouin-Arab women
  • monogamy
  • polygamy
  • remarriage
  • symptomatology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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