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Age at First Marriage for Husband and Wife between Muslim and Santal Communities in Rural Bangladesh: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Authors: Md. Emaj Uddin


Age at first marriage is a basic temporal term that is culturally constructed for marriage relationship between an adult male and an adult female intended to have sex, to reproduce and to adapt to environment from one generation to another around the world. Cross-cultural evidences suggest that age at first marriage for both male and female not only varies across the cultures, but also varies among the subcultures of the same society. The purpose of the study was to compare age at first marriage for husband and wife including age differences between them between Muslim and Santal communities in rural Bangladesh. For this we hypothesized that (1) there were significant differences in age at first marriage and age interval between husband and wife between Muslim and Santal communities in rural Bangladesh. In so doing, 288 couples (145 pairs of couples for Muslim and 143 pairs of couples for Santal) were selected by cluster random sampling from the Kalna village situated in the Tanore Upazila of Rajshahi district, Bangladesh, whose current mean age range was 36.59 years for husband and 28.85 years for wife for the Muslim and 31.74 years for husband and 25.21 years for wife for the Santal respectively. The results of Independent Sample t test showed that mean age at first marriage for the Muslim samples was 23.05 years for husbands and 15.11 years for wives, while mean age at first marriage for the Santal samples was 20.71 years for husbands and 14.34 years for wives respectively that were significantly different at p<0.05 level. Although husbands compared to wives in both the communities were relatively older, there were significant similarities in mean age differences (7.71 for Muslim couples and 7.51 for Santal, p>0.05) among the selected husbands and wives between the two communities. This study recommends that further cross-cultural researches should be done on the causeeffect relationships between socio-cultural factors and age at marriage between the two communities in Bangladesh.

Keywords: Age at First Marriage, Age Difference at Marriage, Bangladesh, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Muslim, Santal.

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