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Many women - many worries

A new study states: children from polygamous families suffer much more severe hardship than children from monogamous families

Prof. Aliyan Alkarinawi. Photo: Ben-Gurion University
Prof. Aliyan Alkarinawi. Photo: Ben-Gurion University

Children from polygamous families (in which a man is married to several women) report more distress, depression, anxiety and problems in creating social relationships, than children in monogamous families (a man is married to one woman).

This is according to a recent study carried out at Ben-Gurion University and its findings will be revealed at the first international conference of its kind, which will be held at the university today, October 29.10.2008, 21, on the topic "The Bedouin Family in the XNUMXst Century". The conference will discuss a variety of issues relating to various aspects of the Bedouin woman's status, such as polygamous marriages and their effect on the family unit, and the personal story of a man living in a polygamous family will also be presented. The conference will host, among others, researchers from Israel, a researcher from Jordan - Prof. Faisal Al-Rafa from the University of Jordan in Amman, as well as researchers from the USA.

The research, carried out by the organizer of the conference, Prof. Aliyan Alkarinawi, head of the social work department named after Spitzer at the university, examined the psycho-social functioning of polygamous families in Bedouin society in the Negev. The research findings reveal that children from polygamous families have lower self-esteem, their academic achievements were found to be lower than those of children from monogamous families, and they are more pessimistic about their academic future. In addition, variables examining family relationships indicated that children from polygamous families reported more fights with their father and siblings and more fights with their father's wives and children. Also, it was found that children from polygamous families reported more problematic general family functioning than children from monogamous families.

The polygamous women who participated in the study reported more difficulties than the monogamous women in most measures of psychological functioning, including depression, anxiety, and paranoid thoughts. In addition, their self-esteem was lower and they reported less satisfaction with the quality of married life and more problems with family functioning compared to the monogamous women. The research findings also show that the relationships between the women in polygamous families and their children are problematic, and that their relationships with their husband's other wives and children are accompanied by many difficulties and continuous disagreement. In addition, they reported quarrels with their husbands regarding his relationships with his other wives, and claimed against their husbands for the lack of justice in his treatment of his various wives.

The fathers in polygamous families reported a low involvement in the lives of their families: they date their children and wives less than fathers in monogamous families. Also, polygamous fathers reported higher levels of depression, anxiety, obsessions and paranoid thoughts than the monogamous fathers. In addition, the polygamous fathers reported less satisfaction with the quality of married life, more difficulties with their children and more problematic family functioning than the monogamous fathers. However, contrary to the findings from the sample of children and mothers, it was found that the self-esteem of the polygamous men was high, similar to the self-esteem of the monogamous men. A possible explanation for this is that within the patriarchal Bedouin society, marriage to several wives and the birth of a large number of children are signs of strength and power.

Additional findings that emerged from the study regarding the attitudes of the children, their mothers and fathers regarding polygamy, indicate that the women and children in the polygamous families do not support the phenomenon of polygamy while the fathers express strong support for this phenomenon.

In this comprehensive study, approximately 973 subjects were sampled from among the Bedouin society in the Negev, half of them came from polygamous families and the other half from monogamous families. Out of all the subjects, about 352 children, 315 women and about 306 men were sampled. The study examined a number of variables, among them: psychological functioning, family functioning, social functioning, the quality of their married life, father-child relations, mother-child relations and the educational achievements of the children, of the mothers and of the fathers from polygamous families compared to those from monogamous families. The research findings, as mentioned, revealed many differences between the different types of families.

Prof. Alkarinawi: "It can be clearly seen that a polygamous family structure causes great psychological, economic and social difficulties for children, mothers and fathers living in polygamous families. The research findings show that both the fathers and the mothers in these families have a lower education than the members of the monogamous families, and their employment situation is worse. It is important to note that the findings of the study indicate that polygamy is especially problematic when it is accompanied by a difficult financial situation."

According to Prof. Alkarinawi, the Bedouin society in Israel is undergoing urbanization processes, which are accompanied by a transition to towns and integration with the Western socio-economic system of the State of Israel. Despite the modernization processes, the phenomenon of polygamy still exists in Bedouin-Arab society. According to unofficial findings, about 20-25% of Bedouin families are polygamous families.

The disclosure of the findings at the conference, which will be held in the presence of the Minister of Welfare and Social Services, MK Yitzhak Herzog, and the heads of his office, is intended to both raise awareness of the consequences of the phenomenon among members of Bedouin society in the Negev and to influence the decision makers, in order to allocate resources for the care of children and mothers from polygamous families.

5 תגובות

  1. The more patriarchal the society, the more it fails - in all parameters. And if it seems to you that educational achievements are not important, then at least admit that unstable health and a short life expectancy is an absolute evil.

    Patriarchy and postmodernism should rot in hell.

  2. I would sharpen the point that sometimes it is not the quantity that is desired but the quality.
    As Ahad Ha'am said.
    The truth is that the matter depends on the time in question, on the resources required. On the needs of the time and the period and the nature of the souls (type with basic belonging) operating in a family/couple/or polygamous/communal dynamic (as was required to build the country at that time and was required of nomadic tribes, forgetting that the hero was mainly the one who ruled and won over them. Multiplying offspring by multiplying women is then required in order to minimize or counteract the extinction of the subject species).
    As a guiding principle: anything that exceeds the limit of the necessary endurance is requested to undergo a change of attitude in accordance with the periodic situation that blackens you and towards the promotion of the trend that is brewing within it. There are those for whom the group/traditional approach still follows them as a strong and powerful current and it does not matter to them if there are so many trash cans and teachers and female child victims and even "Legendary-worried" men..haha as King Solomon) fall due to their dizzy attitude. And with them the attitude "quantity allows choosing quality"..characteristic of cats for example...(as the secret of many souls is freaky and stinky for this hour).
    And once again, this article illustrates that the Darbano Gershom law applies both now and to the tribes and peoples close to our home.
    For all reasons, a monogamous family is indeed preferable - a family unit anchored and adapted to its proper, attentive nature
    To have a healthy, honest and well-informed mind (and inwardly-weighted and prudent) and not to go on a spree that has lost its power and that does not serve the health of the souls of those born for ever.
    Therefore, in my humble opinion, informed awareness is the key to everything.


  3. I hope in the research they noticed that the fights are also a function of the amount of people present. There is a chance of more fights between the children in a family with many children than in a family with few children.
    But there is no doubt that the article by Prof. Aliyan Alkarinawi comes to the conclusion that the monogamous family is preferable.
    good evening
    Sabdarmish Yehuda

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