I found an interesting study called "A Comparison of Family Functioning, Life and Marital Satisfaction, and Mental Health of Women in Polygamous and Monogamous Marriages" by Al-Krenawi et al. It is about the negative impact of polygamy on numerous aspects of the wifes' wellbeing. As an erstwhile physicist I understand statistics, but the terminology in psychology and psychiatry is totally new for me.

I want to ask about the precise meaning of the word "attitudinal in "attitudinal acceptance". The context is the following:

Previous research suggests that education and attitudinal acceptance of polygamy are inversely correlated...

Google search returns a plethora of scientific articles, but so far I haven’t spotted a definition. The general definition of "attitudinal" from Webster reads:

relating to, based on, or expressive of personal attitudes or feelings

and seems to suggest that any acceptance would be attitudinal. Thus, I believe it must carry a specific meaning in psychology.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "Attitude" would normally refer to "expressed attitude", measured via a survey or interview or similar report. This would contrast with for example, "behaviour" (eg, in a polygamous relationship but does not accept it), or feeling (eg, accepts polygamy but dislikes it), or unconscious attitude (eg, against polygamy explicitly but shows positive association when measured indirectly), or other measures potentially orthogonal to expressed attitude. These differences are both common and important in psychology research (see "cognitive dissonance" for more). $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jul 17, 2018 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


For more context, the passage in Al-Krenawi & Graham (2006) reads as follows on page 12.

Previous research suggests that education and attitudinal acceptance of polygamy are inversely correlated (Heaton & Hirschl, 1999; Maziak et al., 2002; Nevadomsky, 1991); other findings are less conclusive (Nevadomsky, 1991). The Bedouin-Arab community is in a massive state of transition, part of which includes higher attainment for youth. Respondents in monogamous marriages therefore may have had greater opportunity for education; and the potential for less acceptance of polygamy may be modestly influential on the cohort.

My interpretation is that research indicated by 3 papers suggests that where education is high, acceptance of polygamy is low, and where education is low, acceptance is high. The acceptance is shown through attitude.

As @ArnonWeinberg pointed out, "attitude" would normally refer to "expressed attitude" measured via a survey or interview or similar report. In this case it was questionnaires.

Questionnaires were structured; data collectors were present during the interview, completed the questionnaire forms with the respondent and, for those with limited reading or writing skills, the researchers read to the respondent and filled in the questionnaire according to the given responses (pages 7—8).


Heaton, T., & Hirschl, T. A. (1999). The trajectory of family change in Nigeria. Journal of Comparative Family Studies 30(1), 35-55. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41603608

Al-Krenawi, A., & Graham, J. R. (2006). A comparison of family functioning, life and marital satisfaction, and mental health of women in polygamous and monogamous marriages. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 52(1), 5-17. DOI: 10.1177/00207640060061245

Maziak, W., Asfar, T., Mzayek, F., Fouad, F. M., & Kilzieh, N. (2002). Socio-demographic correlates of psychiatric morbidity among low-income women in Aleppo, Syria. Social science & medicine, 54(9), 1419-1427. DOI: 10.1016/S0277-9536(01)00123-X

Nevadomsky, J. (1991). Attitudes of Nigerian students toward marriage and family relationships. International Journal of Sociology of the Family, 21(2), 201–212. Retrieved$nbsp;from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23029820


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