Mental Health Aspects of Arab-Israeli Adolescents From Polygamous Versus Monogamous Families Academic Article uri icon


  • The authors considered the mental health consequences of polygamy in a sample of 101 Arab Muslim adolescents (19 from polygamous and 82 from monogamous families) at Juarish (Ramla), Israel. The respondents completed the Self-Esteem Scale (SE; M. Rosenberg, 1979), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI; L. Derogatis & N. Melsavados, 1983; L. Derogatis & P. Spencer, 1982), and the McMaster Family Assessment Device (FAD; N. B. Epstein, M. N. Baldwin, & D. S. Bishop, 1983). The respondents from polygamous families had lower SE scores, statistically significant higher scores in 2 BSI dimensions, higher scores in all other BSI dimensions, and higher levels of self-reported family dysfunction. The respondents from polygamous families reported lower levels of socioeconomic status, academic achievement, and parental academic attainment. Those variables may have had a more direct impact on mental health than did parental marital status. The data also indicated that perceived family functioning was the best predictor of mental health.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002