Introduction: Family structure is an important context for children's upbringing. Polygamy is a type of marriage that effects the structure of the family. Several research studies have found negative effects of polygamy on children's mental health and problem behaviours (AL-Krenawi et.al, 2006; EL-Bedour et.al, 2006). This research investigated the impact of polygamy on adolescents in Saudi Arabia. Aims: To investigate the differences between adolescents from polygamous and monogamous families in the following variables:psychological well-being(self-esteem, satisfaction with life, depression) and bullying/victimization. Methods: Participants:A total 98 students from schools in Riyadh City; 49 students from polygamous families and 49 students from monogamous families (71 boys,27 girls; mean age=15.36 years). Instruments and procedure: Questionnaires to measure demographic variables, self-esteem, satisfaction with life, depression, bullying, and victimization were administered in school. All tests have been previously validated for use in Saudi Arabia. Ethics: Parents, school principals and students were given information sheets and consent forms. The study was approved university ethics committees. Results: Statistically significant differences were found between participants from polygamous and monogamous families in all dependents variables. Adolescents from monogamous families reported higher self-esteem(p=0.005) and satisfaction with life (p=0.04) than adolescents from polygamous families. Adolescents from polygamous families showed more depression (p< 0.001), bullying (p<0.001) and victimization (p< 0.001) than adolescents from monogamous families. Conclusion: Polygamy had a negative effect on the psychological well-being (self-esteem, satisfaction with life, depression) and behaviour problems (bullying) of Saudi adolescents.
Mohammad AL-Sharfi, University of Lincoln, UK
Stream: Mental Health
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