Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Eric Hoiberg


Social change is pervasive in Saudi Arabia today and the impact can be seen readily in the modern family;To study family change, a sample of Saudi families in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, was selected. Two types of families were surveyed, 300 husbands and 300 wives representing the "old" family and 300 husbands and 300 wives representing the "young" family;A questionnaire was prepared which included questions about marital arrangements, the size of the family, family functions and activities, family living conditions, family power, the husband and wife's roles, practice of the Islamic religion, and other selected background information;The study findings emphasize the magnitude of social changes taking place within the Saudi family. There are changes in the family situations. Living conditions have improved through increased education, better medical care, technology, increased income and better communication and transportation systems. Marriage arrangements have also changed. People get married at an older age (20 years or more) and the person now assumes responsibility for choosing his wife. Family size has declined and the nuclear family type has become the preferred type;The economic and educational functions are no longer performed exclusively within the family but are now being shared with other agencies in the society such as schools and the market. There is increasing agreement about the appropriateness of women's work outside the house, especially in childless families;Blood's Marital Power Scale was used to assess the distribution of power and a decline in the authority of the husband was found. Increasingly, the husband and wife share decisions about family affairs. Changes in the husband and wife's roles, which are included in Hurvitz's Marital Role Inventory, were also found. Both scales used in this study have been found to be applicable to the Saudi society;Functionalism and Modernization theories are used as a theoretical framework to examine social change within the Saudi family.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Saeed Saeed Hamdan



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

447 pages