Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine








Adolescent; COVID-19; Child; Family Conflict; Female; Humans; Marriage; Pandemics; SARS-CoV-2


PURPOSE: Although there is a growing evidence base on the drivers of child marriage, comparatively little is known about the experiences of married girls in refugee settings and how their development trajectories diverge from those of their nonmarried peers, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on cross-national panel data from Bangladesh and Jordan, this article explores diversity in child marriage experiences in contexts affected by forced displacement, highlighting how married girls' well-being differs from that of their unmarried peers, and how COVID-19 has reinforced these differences.

METHODS: We analyzed longitudinal survey data-collected pre- and post-COVID-19-from the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence study with 293 ever-married and 1,102 never-married adolescent girls. Multivariate regression analysis assessed the well-being of married and unmarried girls across contexts and refugee status, both prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. These quantitative data are complemented by in-depth qualitative data from adolescents (n = 112), and key informant interviews with service providers and community leaders (n = 62).

RESULTS: Our findings highlight that married girls in contexts affected by displacement are disadvantaged in multiple ways, but that the patterning of disadvantage varies across contexts, and that marriage can also have protective effects in certain contexts. The COVID-19 pandemic has, however, served to exacerbate existing inequalities in all contexts.

DISCUSSION: Although child marriage prevention efforts remain critical, there is also an urgent need for programming that targets married girls in refugee and host communities to mitigate negative outcomes among this vulnerable group.


Copyright © 2022 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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