Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 255–271 | Cite as

The Effect of Polygamous Marital Structure on Behavioral, Emotional, and Academic Adjustment in Children: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature

  • Salman Elbedour
  • Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie
  • Corin Caridine
  • Hasan Abu-Saad


Polygamy represents expanded family structures that are based on marriages involving a husband with 2 or more wives. Interestingly, polygamy is legally and widely practiced in 850 societies across the globe. In the last 2 decades, polygamy has been the focus of a significant growth in public, political, and academic awareness. Indeed, several quantitative and qualitative research articles and theoretical papers have emerged during this period, particularly concerning the effects of this form of marital structure on behavioral, emotional, and academic adjustment of children. However, to date, no researcher has provided a summary of the extant literature. Thus, the purpose of this comprehensive literature review is to summarize findings and to discuss implications of empirical studies that have examined whether polygamous marital structures are beneficial or harmful to children in comparison with children raised in monogamous marital structures. This review includes a summary of the findings from all quantitative and qualitative studies in the extant literature that have examined the effect of polygamy on children's outcomes.

polygamy marital conflict child adjustment family structure 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salman Elbedour
    • 1
  • Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie
    • 1
  • Corin Caridine
    • 1
  • Hasan Abu-Saad
    • 2
  1. 1.Howard UniversityWashington, DC
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaMinnesota

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