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Family in Arab Culture


The patient and family are the focus of care in the COCM© model, reflecting the cultural importance of family life and values within Arab culture. In Arab culture, the family, rather than the individual, is the core of the society and where values and traditions are taught. Family commitment and unity, family honor and loyalty, and obligations are the central values of an Arab Muslim.


Arab Muslims sacrifice individuality to maintain family cohesiveness where self-image, security and identity are derived from the family relationships. Problems arise when family members are isolated from family support, during disharmony of the family unit, or when personal problems are discussed outside the kinship network which brings shame to the family.

Islam provides the guidance on structure and roles within the family, and family life.

Marriage is considered a legitimate method of partnership and procreation and the Qur’an lists the partners permitted in marriage. While consanguinity (first cousin marriages) is not advised, cousin marriages are common among some groups of Arab Muslims due to strong cultural traditions. Divorce is undesirable as it leads to breaking of family bonds. In the case of divorce, custody and care of child is determined by specific criteria under a court of law.


Children are valued as they provide parents with higher social status, purpose in life, and connectedness within the family system. Children are socialized to obey parents, respect their elders, be loyal to their family, and demonstrate devotion to parents.


In Arab culture, respect and esteem increase with age. Elderly parents are respected for their life experiences, wisdom and hierarchic position in the family unit. In general, the parents, spouses, and elder children, in descending order have greater decision making power than the rest of the relatives

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