The Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), in collaboration with researchers from Qatar University, conducted a study on the ‘Impact of Blockade on Families in Qatar’. DIFI is a member of Qatar Foundation.
The study assessed the impact of the blockade that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt imposed on Qatar on 5 June 2017, examining the unique experiences of mixed-marriage families, in which one of the spouses is a native of one of the blockading countries, with relatives living in one of these countries.
The study concluded that the blockade has adversely impacted inter-family interactions and relationships, and has made the affected families more vulnerable to individual and collective trauma and psychological stresses. This has necessitated identifying the gaps in the services provided to the affected families and the interventions direly needed for bolstering inter-family relationships and safeguarding the family’s social, psychological, and material well-being.
Challenges for Mixed-Marriage Families
According to DIFI Executive Director Noor Al Malki Al Jehani, the blockade has had unprecedented consequences not only on the Qatari families, but also on families where one of the spouses is a national of the blockading countries and lives in Qatar. The study has highlighted the various challenges that these families face and the different aspects of this crisis. It has also proposed some mechanisms that help families overcome these challenges.
Data for this study was collected from interviews with 22 adults – who belonged to mixed-marriage Qatari families, in which one of the spouses is a native of the blockading countries. These 22 participants included 11 males and 11 females (married and single) with and without children.
Two focus groups were conducted with single and married women. Individual interviews were conducted with male participants. The study is based on the basic principles of the constructivist theory for directing the interviews, using thematic analysis of the interview and focus group data in order to identify its findings.
The study has identified a number of challenges that these families face: Social Challenges, family fragmentation, instability, and family conflicts; Psychological Challenges, such as trauma, fear, anxiety, sadness, grief, and insecurity; Educational Challenges, which include cases where families fear that their children – nationals of the blockading countries – could not continue their studies in Qatar; Health Challenges, which include stress, its adverse impact on individual health and the related expenses related to the stress; and Financial Challenges.
DIFI is a global policy and advocacy institute working to advance knowledge on Arab families through research, and promote evidence-based polices at the national and international levels. The institute has special consultative status with United Nations Economic and Social Council.
For more information about the DIFI study, visit their website at difi.org.qa.