ANOTHER WIFE

BY DR TINA MUTOMBO

ANOTHER WIFE

The persistence of polygyny in many countries such as Senegal, United Arab Emirates requires an explanation (Al-Krenawi, Graham & Al-Krenawi, 1997). Previous research focused on the effects on different family members, but more specially the effects on children and adolescents, to be detrimental(Al-Sharfi Pfeffer & Miller, 2015).

Polygyny as a complex family system has however, been little explored in relation to its effects on the child’s later adult relationship quality. The purpose of this study therefore, was to explore the experiences of African Diasporas who were brought up in polygynous households, and how this may have affected their ability to develop adult relationships.

Three adults of African descent took part in the study, and were recruited through purposive volunteer sampling. A qualitative design using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), to investigate participant’s personal narratives was implemented, so that the meaning of growing up in a polygynous household had for them could be explored.

A semi structured interview was designed to explore the participants’ relationships with their fathers, mothers, fathers’ other wives, and the other children in the family. How they feel the experience of growing up in a polygynous household has affected their adult relationships was also explored.

Four super ordinate themes emerged from the data: ‘patriarchal society’, illustrating ruling power men have over the households in general; appearance versus reality’, illustrating camouflage behaviours members of the family displayed; ‘relationships’, illustrating interpersonal group dynamic; and, ‘distance’, illustrating a distant father during childhood and the participants’ tendency to become avoidant of intimate or social relationships as adults.

These findings shed light on a previously unexplored topic and illustrated how polygynous households in childhood have lasting effects on individuals’ social and emotional skills across the lifespan.

BY DR TINA MUTOMBO

ANOTHER WIFE

The persistence of polygyny in many countries such as Senegal, United Arab Emirates requires an explanation (Al-Krenawi, Graham & Al-Krenawi, 1997). Previous research focused on the effects on different family members, but more specially the effects on children and adolescents, to be detrimental(Al-Sharfi Pfeffer & Miller, 2015).

Polygyny as a complex family system has however, been little explored in relation to its effects on the child’s later adult relationship quality. The purpose of this study therefore, was to explore the experiences of African Diasporas who were brought up in polygynous households, and how this may have affected their ability to develop adult relationships.

Three adults of African descent took part in the study, and were recruited through purposive volunteer sampling. A qualitative design using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), to investigate participant’s personal narratives was implemented, so that the meaning of growing up in a polygynous household had for them could be explored.

A semi structured interview was designed to explore the participants’ relationships with their fathers, mothers, fathers’ other wives, and the other children in the family. How they feel the experience of growing up in a polygynous household has affected their adult relationships was also explored.

Four super ordinate themes emerged from the data: ‘patriarchal society’, illustrating ruling power men have over the households in general; appearance versus reality’, illustrating camouflage behaviours members of the family displayed; ‘relationships’, illustrating interpersonal group dynamic; and, ‘distance’, illustrating a distant father during childhood and the participants’ tendency to become avoidant of intimate or social relationships as adults.

These findings shed light on a previously unexplored topic and illustrated how polygynous households in childhood have lasting effects on individuals’ social and emotional skills across the lifespan.

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