Social Work Practice with Polygamous Families Academic Article uri icon


  • Data are based on student files of 25 Bedouin-Arab children born to senior mothers of polygamous families, and interviews with the children's teachers and mothers. Mothers complained of somatic symptoms, economic problems, poor relations with the husband, and competition and jealousy between the co-wives and among the co-wives' children. Children had a variety of behavioural problems, and below average academic achievement. Social work practice should recognize the cultural and personal significance of polygamy to family members; appreciate the significance of polygamy to children's functioning; select children as a target system for intervention; and reinforce the Islamic value base for interventions.

publication date

  • January 1, 1997