Consanguinity and Associated Socio-Demographic Factors in the United Arab Emirates

Abdulbari Bener, Y. M. Abdulrazzaq, L. I. Al-Gazali, R. Micallef, A. T. Al-Khayat, T. Gaber

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62 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to explore the association between socio-demographic factors and consanguineous marriages in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This was a cross-sectional population-based study conducted in the cities of Al Ain and Dubai between October 1994 and March 1995. A multi-stage sampling design was used and a representative total sample of 2,200 UAE females aged 15 years and above were included in this study. Data on 2,033 (85.8%) UAE national families who consented to participate in the study were obtained. The rate of consanguineous marriages in the sample was found to be 50.5% with 95% estimated population confidence limits 49.2–51.8%. The socio-demographic factors considered were: husband’s age, wife’s age, husband’s and wife’s educational levels, husband’s occupation, wife’s occupation, housing conditions, husband’s parental kinship, wife’s parental kinship, and kinship between the spouses. Consanguinity is more common among women with educated husbands (secondary or university/high) than among women with less educated husbands. The results indicate that the frequency of consanguineous marriages significantly increases when the husband’s educational level is higher (p = 0.003). The distribution of relationship between spouses over the two generations of the study group and their parents is presented. The incidence of consanguineous marriages among the parents is 53% and 62% for the women and their husbands, respectively, and the overall incidence is 57%. The parallel patrilateral marriage is obviously the favoured practice when considering the parent’s kinship distributions. The results of step-wise multiple logistic regression analysis for the occurrence of consanguineous marriages show that the husband’s education and husband’s parents’ consanguinity status only are significantly associated variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-264
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Heredity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Consanguinity
  • Cousin marriages
  • Socio-demographic factors
  • United Arab Emirates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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