Abstract 2. Overview of factors which may influence divorce

1. Introduction

Studies which have been carried out in Bangladesh on the risk of divorce are limited to first marriages or do not distinguish between first, second or more and polygynous marriages [Shaikh et al. 1985, Bhuiya et al. 1999]. Very little is, therefore, known in Bangladesh about the stability of polygynous marriages and remarriages. Several studies in USA report that the probability of divorce was higher for second than first marriages (Martin and Bumpass 1989, McCarthy 1978, Bumpass and Sweet 1972). In Bangladesh where a woman's position in the family and society is quite low, a gender difference in stability of remarriages of previously divorced persons is likely. Considering the growing proportion of marriages that are remarriages or polygynous marriages, there is a need for more empirical analysis of why the remarriage-divorce cycle occurs and why remarriages are divorce-prone.

The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) possesses unique longitudinal demographic data sets of high quality from two culturally different rural areas, Teknaf and Matlab, which make it possible to undertake studies on these topics. Differences in nuptiality patterns between Teknaf and Matlab are shown in Table 1.

(Table 1 here)

Comparison of marriages and divorces recorded in Teknaf and Matlab in 1982-83 reveals higher rates of divorce, remarriage and polygyny in the former than in the latter area. Different nuptiality patterns reflect the value systems prevailing in the two rural areas and warrant local-level explanations and separate assessment of the effects of brides' and grooms' prior marital status on risk of divorce.

Objectives: The objectives of this study are to determine the impact of spouses' prior marital status and various socio-demographic factors on marital stability in Teknaf, Bangladesh. We hypothesize that spouses' prior marital status, other things being equal, affects the stability of current marriages. Moreover, in view of the fact that Bangladesh is a male-dominated society we also expect a difference in divorce rates by gender: men will divorce more frequently than women and divorce rates will be particularly high in polygynous marriages. Identification of characteristics of spouses associated with a higher risk of divorce may help to plan remedial actions to reduce divorce and its adverse consequences for divorced persons and their children.


Abstract 2. Overview of factors which may influence divorce

Determinants of Divorce in a Traditional Muslim Community in Bangladesh
Nurul Alam, Sajal K. Saha, Jeroen K. van Ginneken
© 2000 Max-Planck-Gesellschaft ISSN 1435-9871