Skip to main content

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

Abstract

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.

REFERENCES

  1. Achte, K., & Schakit, T. (1980). Jealousy in various cultures in the light of transactional psychiatry. Psychiatry Fennica, 11, 33–34.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Agadjanian, V., & Ezeh, A. C. (2000). Polygyny, gender relations, and reproduction in Ghana. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 31, 427–441.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Aghanawa, H. S., Dare, F.O., & Ogunniyi, S.O. (1999). Sociodemographic factors in mental disorders associated with infertility in Nigeria. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 46, 117–123.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Alexander, K., Entwisle, D., & Thompson, M. (1987). School performance, status relations, and the structure of sentiment: Bringing the teacher back in. American Sociological Review, 52, 665–682.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Al-Issa, I. (1990). Culture and mental illness in Algeria. The International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 36, 230–240.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Al-Issa, I. (1995). The illusion of reality or the reality of illusion: Hallucination and culture. British Journal of Psychiatry, 166, 368–373.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Al-Krenawi, A. (1998). Family therapy with a multiparental/ multispousal family. Family Process, 37, 65–81.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Al-Krenawi, A. (2001). Women from polygamous and monogamous marriages in an out-patient psychiatric clinic Transcultural Psychiatry, 38, 187–199.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Al-Krenawi, A., & Graham, J. R. (1997). Social work with Polygamous families. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 14, 445–458.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Al-Krenawi, A., & Graham, J. R. (1999). The story of Bedouin-Arab women in a polygamous marriage.Women Studies International Forum, 22, 497–509.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Al-Krenawi, A., Graham, J. R., & Al-Krenawi, S. (1997). Social work practice with polygamous families. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 14, 445–458.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Al-Krenawi, A., & Lightman, E. S. (2000). Learning achievement, social adjustment, and family conflict among Bedouin-Arab children from polygamous and monogamous families. Journal of Social Psychology, 140, 345–356.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Altman, I., & Ginat, J. (1996).Polygamous families in contemporary society. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Amato, P. R., & Keith, B. (1991). Parental divorce and the wellbeing of children:Ameta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 26–46.

    Google Scholar 

  15. American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Anderson, C. M. (2000). The persistence of polygyny as an adaptive response to poverty and oppression in Apartheid South Africa. Cross-Cultural Research, 34, 99–113.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Arditti, J. A. (1999). Rethinking relationships between divorced mothers and their children: Capitalizing on family strengths. Family Relations, 48, 109–119.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Belsky, J. (1981). Early human experience: A family perspective. Developmental Psychology, 17, 3–23.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Bergstrom, T. C. (1994). On the economics of polygyny. Retrieved July 25, 2002, from http://netec.mcc.ac.uk/BibEc/ data/Papers/elsesrcls042.html.

  21. Bouchard, T. J., Lykken, D. T., McGue, M., Segal, N. L., & Tellegen, A. (1990). Sources of human psychological differences: The Minnesota Study of twins reared apart. Science, 250, 223–228.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Bowen, G. L., & Chapman, M. V. (1996). Poverty, neighborhood danger, social support, and the individual adaptation among at-risk youth. Journal of Family Issues, 17, 641–666.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Bradley, R. H., Corwyn, R. E., & Whiteside-Mansell, L. (1996). Life at home: Same time, different places—An examination of the home inventory in different cultures. Early Development and Parenting, 5, 251–269.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Bradley, R. H., Whiteside, L., Munford, D. J., Casey, P. H., Kelleher, K. J., & Pope, S. K. (1994). Early indications of resilience and their relation to experiences in the home environments of lowbirth weight, premature children living in poverty. Child Development, 65, 346–360.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Bronefenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Bronefenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context of human development: Research perspectives. Developmental Psychology, 22, 723–742.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Broude, G. J. (1994). Marriage, family, and relationships: A crosscultural encyclopaedia. Denver, CO: ABC-CLIO.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Brown, P. C., & Smith, T. W. (1992). Social influence, marriage, and the heart: Cardiovascular consequences of interpersonal control in husbands and wives. Health Psychology, 11, 88–96.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Buehler, C., & Gerard, J. M. (2002). Marital conflict, ineffective parenting, and children's and adolescents. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 78–92.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Bumpass, L. L., & Raley, R. K. (1995). Redefining single-parent families: Cohabitation and changing family reality. Demography, 32, 97–109.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Caldwell, J. C., & Caldwell, P. (1993). The nature and limits of the sub-Saharan Africa AIDS epidemic: Evidence from geographic and other patterns. Population and Development Review, 19, 817–848.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Camara, S. (1978). Femmes Africaines, polygamie, et authorit ´e masculine (African women, polygamy, and masculine authority). Ethnopsychology, 33, 43–53.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Carlson, M. J., & Corcoran, M. E. (2001). Family structure and children's behavioral and cognitive outcomes. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 779–792.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Chaleby, K. (1985). Women of polygamous marriages in an inpatient psychiatric services. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 173, 56–58.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Cherian, V. I. (1990). Academic achievement of children from monogamous and polygamous families. Journal of Social Psychology, 130, 117–119.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Cherian, V. I. (1994). Corporal punishment and academic achievement of Xhosa children from polygynous and monogamous families Journal of Social Psychology, 134, 387–390.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Cleveland, H. H., Wiebe, R. P., van den Oord, E. J.C.G., & Rowe, D. C. (2000). Behavior problems among children from different family structures: The influence of genetic self-selection. Child Development, 71, 733–751.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Coleman, R. E., & Miller, A. G. (1975). The relationship between depression and marital maladjustment in a clinic population:A multitrait–multimethod study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 647–651.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Conger, R., Conger, K., & Elder,G. (1997). Family economic hardship and adolescent adjustment: Mediating and moderating processes. In G. J. Duncan & J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), Consequences of growing up poor (pp. 288–310). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Crooks,D. (1995). American children at risk: Poverty and its consequences for children's health, growth, and school achievement. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, 38, 57–86.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Crosson-Tower, C. (1998). Understanding child abuse and neglect (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Cummings, E. M., & Davis, P. T. (1994). Children and marital con-flict: The impact of family dispute and resolution. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Cummings, E. M., & O'Reilly, A.W. (1997). Fathers in family context: Effects of marital quality on child adjustment. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development (pp. 49–65). New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Cummings, E. M., Zahn-Waxler, C., & Radke-Yarrow, M. (1984). Developmental changes in children's reactions to anger in the home. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 25, 6374.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Davies, P. T., Myers, R. L., & Cummings, M. E. (1996). Responses of children and adolescents to marital conflict scenarios as a function of the emotionality if conflict endings. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 42, 1–21.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Demo, D., & Acock, A. (1988). The impact of divorce on children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50, 619–648.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Demo, D. H., & Acock, A. C. (1996). Family structure, family process, and adolescent well-being. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 6, 457–488.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Duncan, G. J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1997). Income effects across the life span: Integration and interpretation. In G. J. Duncan & J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), The Consequences of growing up poor (pp. 596–610). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Duncan, G. J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2000). Family, poverty, welfare reform, and child development. Child Development, 71, 188–196.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Duncan, G. J., Yeung, W. J., Brooks-Gunn, J. R., & Smith, J. (1998). How much does childhood poverty affect the life chances of children? American Sociological Review, 63, 406–423.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Dunn, J. (1988). Annotation: Sibling influences on childhood development. Journal of Child Psychology Psychiatry, 29, 119–127.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Dunn, J., Deater-Deckard, K., Picketing, K., & O'Connor, T. G. (1998). Children's adjustment and proscoial behavior in step-, single-parent, and non-stepfamily settings: Findings from a community study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39, 1083–1095.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Dwairy,M. (1998). Cross-cultural counseling: The Arab–Palestinian case. New York: Haworth Press.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Eapen,V., Al-Gazali, L., Bin-Othman, S., & Abou-Saleh,M.(1998). Mental health problems among school children in the United Arab Emirates: Prevalence and risk factors. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37(8), 880–886.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Ebigbo, P. O., Onyeama, W. P., Ihezue, U. H., & Ahanotu, A. C. (1981). Family therapy with polygynous families. Zeitschrift fur Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychoanalyse, 27, 180–191.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Egeland, B., Sroufe, A., & Erickson, M. (1983). The development consequences of different patterns of maltreatment. Child Abuse and Neglect, 7, 459–469.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Einon,D. (1998).Howmany children can one man have? Evolution and Human Behavior, 19, 413–426.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Elbedour, S., Bart, W. M., & Hektner, J. M. (2000). Scholastic achievement and family marital structure: Bedouin Arab adolescents from monogamous and polygamous families in Israel. Journal of Social Psychology, 140, 503–515.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Elbedour, S., Bart, W., & Hektner, J. (in press-a). Intelligence and family marital structure: The case of adolescents from monogamous and polygamous families among Bedouin Arabs in Israel. Journal of Social Psychology.

  60. Elbedour, S., Bart, W., & Hektner, J. (in press-b). The relationship between monogamous/polygamous family structure and the mental health of school-aged children. Journal of Family Psychology.

  61. Elbedour, S., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Alatamin, M. (2002). Behavioral problems and scholastic adjustment among Bedouin-Arab children from polygamous and monogamous marital family structures: Some developmental considerations. Manuscript submitted for publication.

  62. Elder, G. H., Jr., Eccles, J. S., Ardelt, M., & Lord, S. (1995). Innercity parents under economic pressure: Perspectives on the strategies of parenting. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 771–784.

    Google Scholar 

  63. El-Sheikh, M. (1994). Children's emotional and physiological response to interadult angry behavior: The role history of interparental hostility. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 22, 661–678.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Emery, R. E. & O'Leary, K. D. (1982). Children's perceptions of marital discord and behavioral problems of boys and girls. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 10, 11–24.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Emery, R. E., & O'Leary, K. D. (1984). Marital discord and child behavior problems in a non-clinic sample. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 12, 411–420.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Engfer, A. (1988). The interrelatedness of marriage and the mother–child relationship. In R. A. Hinde & J. Stevenson-Hinde (Eds.), Relationships within families: Mutal influences (pp. 104–118). Oxford, U.K.: Clarenda Press.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Evans, M.D. R., Kelley, J., Borgers, M., Dronkers, J., & Grullenberg, L. (1995, July 17). Parent divorce and children's education: Australian evidence. Worldwide Attitudes, 1–8.

  68. Feghali, E. (1997). Arab cultural communication patterns. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 21, 345–378.

    Google Scholar 

  69. Fincham, F. (1998). Child development and marital relations. Child Development, 69, 543–574.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Frosch, C. A., & Mangelsdorf, S. C. (2001). Marital behavior, parenting behavior, and multiple reports of preschoolers' behavior problems: Mediation or moderation? Developmental Psychology, 37, 502–519.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Gage-Brandon, A. J. (1992). The polygyny–divorce relationship: A case study of Nigeria. Journal of Marriage and Family, 54, 285–293.

    Google Scholar 

  72. Ganong, L. H., & Coleman, M. (1993). A meta-analytic comparison of the self-esteem and behavior problems of stepchildren to children in other family structures. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 19, 143–163.

    Google Scholar 

  73. Garenne, M., & van de Walle, E. (1989). Polygyny and fertility among the Sereer of Senegal. Population Studies, 43, 267–283.

    Google Scholar 

  74. Garmezy, N. (1983). Stressors of childhood. In N. Garmezy & M. Rutter (Eds.), Stress, coping and development in children (pp. 43–84). New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  75. Gecas, V., & Schwalbe, M. L. (1986). Parental behavior and adolescent self-esteem. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48, 37–46.

    Google Scholar 

  76. Glick, P. C. (1989). Remarried families, stepfamilies, and stepchildren: Abrief demographic profile. Family Relations, 38, 24–27.

    Google Scholar 

  77. Gottman, J. M. (1994). What predicts divorce: The relationship between marital processes and marital outcomes. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  78. Gottman, J. M., & Notarius, C. I. (2000). Decade review: Observing marital interaction. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 927–47.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Greenway, T., & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (in press). Relationships between family structure and academic achievement and attendance rate among Georgia middle school students. Louisiana Educational Research Journal.

  80. Grych, J. H., & Fincham, F.D. (1990). Marital conflict and children's adjustment:Acognitive–contextual framework. Psychological Bulletin, 108, 2, 267–290.

    Google Scholar 

  81. Grych, J. H., & Fincham, F.D. (1992). Marital dissolution and family adjustment: An attributional analysis. In T. L. Orbuch (Ed.), Close relationship loss: Theoretical perspectives (pp. 157–173). New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  82. Gwanfogbe, P.N., Schumm, U. R., Smith, M., & Furrow, J. L. (1997). Polygyny and marital life satisfaction: An expository study from rural Cameroon. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 28, 55–71.

    Google Scholar 

  83. Hanson, T. L., McLanahan, S. S., & Thomson, E. (1997). Double jeopardy: Parental conflict and stepfamily outcomes for children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 141–154.

    Google Scholar 

  84. Harris, J. R. (1995).Where is the child's environment? A group socialization theory of development. Psychological Review, 102, 458–489.

    Google Scholar 

  85. Hartung, J. (1982). Polygyny and inheritance of wealth. Current Anthropology, 23, 1–12.

    Google Scholar 

  86. Hashima, P. Y., & Amato, P. R. (1994). Poverty, social support, and parental behavior. Child Development, 65, 394–403.

    Google Scholar 

  87. Hassouneh-Phillips, D. (2001). Polygamy and wife abuse: A qualitative study of Muslim women in America. Health Care for Women International, 22, 735–748.

    Google Scholar 

  88. Haugaard, J. L. (1998). Is adoption a risk factor for the development of adjustment problems? Clinical Psychology Review, 18, 47–69.

    Google Scholar 

  89. Hetherington, E. M., Cox, M., & Cox, R. (1982). Effects of divorce on parents and children. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), Nontraditional families: Parenting and child development (pp. 233–288). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  90. Hetherington, E. M., & Stanley-Hagan, M. (1986). Divorced fathers: Stress, coping, and adjustment. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The father's role: Applied perspectives (pp. 103–134). New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  91. Hetherington, E. M., Stanley-Hagen, M., & Anderson, E. R. (1989). Marital transitions: A child's perspective. American Psychologist, 44, 303–312.

    Google Scholar 

  92. Hillman, E. (1975). Polygyny reconsidered. NewYork: Orbis Books

    Google Scholar 

  93. Ibrahim, A. S., & Ibrahim, R. M. (1993). Is psychotherapy really needed in nonwestern cultures? The case of Arab countries. Psychological Reports, 72, 881–882.

    Google Scholar 

  94. Jankowiak,W., & Diderich, M. (2000). Sibling solidarity in a polygamous community in the USA: Unpacking inclusive fitness. Evolution and Human Behavior, 21, 125–139.

    Google Scholar 

  95. Jennings, K.D., Stagg, V., & Conners, R. E. (1991). Social networks and mothers' interactions with their preschool children. Child Development, 62, 966–978.

    Google Scholar 

  96. Kampambwe, G. M. (1980). An investigation into the relationship between family background and scholastic achievement of a group of junior secondary school subjects in Zambia. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Zambia, Lusaka.

  97. Katz, L. F., & Gottman, J. M. (1991). Marital discord and child outcomes: A social psychophysiological approach. In J. Garber & K. A. Dodge (Eds.), The development of emotion regulation and dysregulation (pp. 129–158). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  98. Katz, L. F., & Gottman, J. M. (1993). Patterns of marital conflict predict children's internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Developmental Psychology, 29, 940–950.

    Google Scholar 

  99. Kelly, J. B., & Wallerstein, J. S. (1975). The effects of parental divorce. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 45, 253–254.

    Google Scholar 

  100. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Fisher, L., Ogrocki, P., Stout, J. C., Speicher, C. E., & Glaser, R. (1987). Marital quality, marital disruption, and immune function. Psychosomatic Medicine, 49, 13–34.

    Google Scholar 

  101. Klomegah, R. (1997). Socio-economic characteristics of Ghanaian women in polygynous marriages. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 28, 73–88.

    Google Scholar 

  102. Korbin, J. (1980). The cultural context of child abuse and neglect. Child Abuse and Neglect, 4, 13–24.

    Google Scholar 

  103. Krishnakumar, A., & Buehler,C. (2000). Interpersonal conflict and parenting behaviors:Ameta-analytic review.Family Relations, 49, 29–40.

    Google Scholar 

  104. Lansford, J. E., Ceballo, R., Abbey, A., & Stewart, A. J. (2001). Does family structure matter? A comparison of adoptive, two-parent biological, single-mother, stepfather, and stepmother households. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 840–851.

    Google Scholar 

  105. Lev-Wiesel, R., & Al-Krenawi, A. (2000). Perception of family among Bedouin-Arab children of polygamous families as re-flected in their family drawings. American Journal of Art Therapy, 38, 98–107.

    Google Scholar 

  106. Maitra, B. (1996). Child abuse: A universal ‘diagnostic’ category? The implication of culture in definition and assessment. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 42, 287–304.

    Google Scholar 

  107. Mann, B. J., & MacKenzie, E. P. (1996). Pathways among marital functioning, parental behaviors, and child behavior problems in school-age boys. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 25, 183–191.

    Google Scholar 

  108. McGoldrick, M., & Gerson, R. (1985). Genograms in family assessment. New York: Norton.

    Google Scholar 

  109. McLanahan, S., & Sandefur, G. (1994). Growing up with a single parent: What hurts, what helps. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  110. McLoyd, V. C. (1998). Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. American Psychologist, 53(2), 185–204.

    Google Scholar 

  111. Minde, K. K. (1975). Psychological problems in Ugandan school children:Acontrolled evaluation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 16, 49–59.

    Google Scholar 

  112. Minuchin, P. P. (1988). Relationships within the family: A systems perspective on development. In R. A. Hinde & J. Stevenson-Hinde (Eds.), Relationships within families: Mutual influences (pp. 7–26). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  113. Momeni, D. (1975) Polygyny in Iran. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 37, 453–456.

    Google Scholar 

  114. Mulder, M. B. (1994). On polygyny and sex ratio at birth: An evaluation ofWhiting's study. Current Anthropology, 35, 625–627.

    Google Scholar 

  115. Needleman, H. L., Schell, A., Bellinger, D., Leviton, A., & Allred, E. (1990). The long-term effects of low doses of lead in childhood: An 11-year follow-up report. New England Journal of Medicine, 322, 83–88.

    Google Scholar 

  116. Ohadike, P.O. (1968). A demographic note on marriage, family and family growth in Lagos, Nigeria. In the population of Tropical Africa. London: Longmans Green & Co.

    Google Scholar 

  117. Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Daniel, L. G. (2002). Uses and misuses of the correlation coefficient. Research in the Schools, 9, 73–90.

    Google Scholar 

  118. Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Daniel, L. G. (in press). Typology of analytical and interpretational errors in quantitative and qualitative educational research. Current Issues in Education.

  119. Oyefeso, A., & Adegoke, A. R. (1992). Psychological adjustment ofYoruba adolescents as influenced by family type:Aresearch note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 33, 785–788.

    Google Scholar 

  120. Owuamanam, D. (1984). Adolescents' perceptions of the polygamous family and its relationship to self concept. International Journal of Psychology, 19, 593–598.

    Google Scholar 

  121. Pagani, L., Boulerice, B., & Tremblay, R. (1997). The influence of poverty on children's classroom placement and behavior problems.In G. Duncan & J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), Consequences of growing up poor (pp. 311–339). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  122. Pearson, J. P., & Thoennes, N. (1988). Supporting children after divorce: The influence of custody on support levels and payments. Family Law Quarterly, 22, 319–339.

    Google Scholar 

  123. Pederson, F., Anderson, B., & Cain, R. (1977, April). An approach to understanding linkages between parent–infant and spouse relationships. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child development, New Orleans, LA.

  124. Peterson, S. A. (1999). Marriage structure and contraception in Niger. Journal of Biosocial Science, 31, 93–104.

    Google Scholar 

  125. Porter, B., & O'Leary, D. K. (1980). Marital discord and childhood behavior problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 8, 287–295.

    Google Scholar 

  126. Rosenbaum, S. (1992). Child health and poor children. American Behavioral Scientist, 35, 275–389.

    Google Scholar 

  127. Rutter, M. (1975). Helping troubled children. New York: Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  128. Seccombe, K. (2000). Families in poverty in the 1990's: Trends, causes, consequences, and lessons learned. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 1094–1113.

    Google Scholar 

  129. Sichona, F. J. (1993). The polygyny-fertility hypothesis revisited: The situation in Ghana. Journal of Biosocial Science, 25, 473–482.

    Google Scholar 

  130. Sinha, D., & Bharat, S. (1985). Three types of family structure and psychological differentiation: A study among the Jaunsar-Bawar society. International Journal of Psychology, 20, 693–708.

    Google Scholar 

  131. Smith, J. (2001). The adopted child syndrome: A methodological perspective. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 82, 491–497.

    Google Scholar 

  132. Snoek, C. J. (1970). Marriage and institutionalization of sexual relations. The future of marriage as institution. Concilium 55. New York: Herder and Herder.

    Google Scholar 

  133. Speizer, I. (1995). Men's desire for additional wives and children. Social Biology, 42, 199–213.

    Google Scholar 

  134. Stewart, A. J., Copeland, A. P., Chester, N. L., Malley, J. E., & Barenbaum, N. B. (1997). Separating together: How divorce transforms families. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  135. Strassmann, I. (1997). Polygyny as a risk factor for child mortality among the Dogon. Current Anthropology, 38, 688–695.

    Google Scholar 

  136. Swanson, R. B., Masssey, R. H., & Payne, I. R. (1972). Ordinal position, family size, and personal adjustment. Journal of Psychology, 81, 51–58.

    Google Scholar 

  137. Takeuchi, D. T., Williams, D. R., & Adair, R. K. (1991). Economic stress in the family and children's emotional and behavior problems. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, 1031–1041.

    Google Scholar 

  138. Thompson, R. A. (1986). Fathers and the child's best interests: Judicial decision making in custody disputes. InM. E. Lamb (Ed.), The father's role: Applied perspectives. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  139. Thornton, A., & Camburn, D. (1987). The influence of the family on premarital sexual attitudes and behavior. Demography, 24, 323–340.

    Google Scholar 

  140. Triandis, H. C. (2001). Individualism–collectivism and personality. Journal of Personality, 69, 907–924.

    Google Scholar 

  141. Triandis, H. C., Betancourt, H., Iwao, S., Leung, K., Salazar, J. M., Setiadi, et al. (1993). An etic–emic analysis of individualism and collectivism. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 24, 366–383.

    Google Scholar 

  142. U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1998). Statistical abstract of the United States, 1998 (118th ed.). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

    Google Scholar 

  143. Valsiner, J. (1989). Organization of children's social development in polygamic families. In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Child development in cultural context (pp. 67–86). Toronto, Canada: Hogrefe and Huber.

    Google Scholar 

  144. van deWalle, E. (1968). Marriage in African censuses and inquiries. In W. Brass, A. J. Coale, P. Demeny, D. F. Heisel, F. Lorimer, A. Romaniuk, & E. van de Walle (Eds.), The demography of Tropical Africa (pp. 183–238). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  145. Ware, H. (1979). Polygamy: Women's view in transitional society, Nigeria 1975. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41, 185–195.

    Google Scholar 

  146. Weinger, S. (1998). Poor children “know their place”: Perceptions of poverty, class, and public messages. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 25, 100–118.

    Google Scholar 

  147. Welch, C. E., & Click, P. C. (1981). The incidence of polygamy in contemporary Africa: A research note. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 191–194.

  148. Wenk, D., Hardesty, C. L., Morgan, C., & Blair, S. L. (1994). The influence of parental involvement on the well-being of sons and daughters. Journal of Marriage and Family, 56, 229–234.

    Google Scholar 

  149. Wolfe, B. L. (1999, September). Poverty, children's health, and health care utilization.FRBNYEconomicPolicy Review, 9–21.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Elbedour, S., Onwuegbuzie, A.J., Caridine, C. et al. The Effect of Polygamous Marital Structure on Behavioral, Emotional, and Academic Adjustment in Children: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 5, 255–271 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1020925123016

Download citation

  • polygamy
  • marital conflict
  • child adjustment
  • family structure