The relationship between polygamy and psychiatric disorders in Turkish women

YILMAZ E., Tamam L.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY, vol.64, no.8, pp.821-827, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 64 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0020764018814275
  • Page Numbers: pp.821-827
  • Keywords: Polygamy, marriage, mental health, self-esteem, female, monogamy, MENTAL-HEALTH, ARAB WOMEN, POLYGYNY, MARRIAGES, SUCCESS, LIFE


Backround: Recent data suggest a reduction in the prevalence of polygamy in the southeastern region in Turkey where this type of marriage is common. According to previously studies, polygamous wives, especially senior ones have more intense psychological distress. Aim: This study aims to study the relationship between polygamous marriage and various socio-demographic variables, self-esteem, depressive symptoms and psychiatric disorders. Method: The study consisted of a total of 108 women above the age of 18, of whom 72 were involved in polygamous marriages (30 women were senior wives and 42 women were junior wives) and 36 were in monogamous marriages. Participants were assessed using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Psychiatric disorders were diagnosed by DSM5-based psychiatric interview. Results: The average age was 45.73 +/- 15.22 years for senior wives, 36.57 +/- 10.26 years for juniors and 33.94 +/- 9.08 years for monogamous ones. Although the senior and junior wives were scored higher in the RSE, the difference was not statistically significant. Senior wives tended to score higher in BDI. In the analysis of variance (ANOVA), a significant difference was found between senior wives and monogamous wives but not between junior wives and monogamous wives. The frequencies of dysthymia, posttraumatic stress disorder, somatic symptom disorder and panic disorder among senior wives were significantly higher than in the other groups. Moreover, the frequency of dysthymia was significantly higher among the junior wives compared to the monogamous wives. Conclusion: Polygamous wives are designated to be a disadvantaged subgroup in respect to mental health practices. Mental health professionals, lawmakers and policy planners should put an effort to increase awareness of the relation of polygamy with psychiatric disorder.