Psychological wellbeing among Bedouin women in polygamous marriages

Nihaya Daoud, Ilana Shoham-Vardi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Background: Polygamy defined as 'a marital relationship involving multiple wives', is still practiced in many communities worldwide. Polygamy is a public health concern as there are indications that it adversely affects health of women and children in such families. Objective: The study aims to examine the associations between polygamy and self-rated health (SRH) and depressive symptoms (DS), and factors that can mitigate these associations, among Bedouin women in southern Israel Methods: Using a structured questionnaire, a representative sample of 464 Bedouin women was interviewed. Results: Rate of polygamy in our sample was 21.7%. Women in polygamous marriages had poorer SRH (OR=1.86, CI=1.17, 2.93) and as twice higher DS (OR=1.91, CI=1.21, 3.09). In the multivariate analysis, adjustment for a group of socio-economic variables (e.g. women's education, literacy, husband education, household income and household composition) reduced the odds ratio (OR) of the associations between polygamy SRH and DS by 12% and 17% respectively. OR of the same associations was attenuated by 30% and 36% respectively after adjustment for the psychosocial factors (social support, social networks and mastery). When both groups of factors (the socio-economic and psychosocial) were included in the same model, the associations between polygamy and SRH was reduced by 35% and by 44% in the association with DS and it became not significant. Conclusion: Polygamy is a risk factor for women's psychological health. In addition to provide support for women in such marriages social policies need to be more assertive in reducing polygamy as a social norm in different cultures.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2011
Event139st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2011 -
Duration: 30 Oct 2011 → …


Conference139st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2011
Period30/10/11 → …


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