Thursday, January 13, 2011: 4:00 PM
Meeting Room 8 (Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina)
* noted as presenting author
Background & Purpose: Scholars suggest that immigrant youth face numerous acculturative challenges (Berry et al., 2006; Suarez-Orozco et al., 2001; Rumbaut & Portes, 2001). As a religious and ethnic minority, immigrant Muslim youth face additional challenges in their personal and social settings in a post 9/11 world. Although research on immigrant populations has increased over the last decade, the adaptation experiences of immigrant Muslim youth have been neglected in this recent surge. Thus, the purpose of this mixed method study was to describe and examine the acculturation and psychological adaptation among a diverse sample of immigrant Muslim youth. Methods: The exploratory study employed a mixed methods approach using a concurrent triangulation design that included a self-administered survey and focus groups. The sample included 202 youth between the ages of 13 and 21. The following measures were included to assess: Perceived Social Support Family Scale, Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire, Perceived Discrimination Scale, Immigrant Acculturation Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Children Scale. Following the self-administered survey, 36 participants were randomly selected to participate in three focus groups. A semi-structured interview guide was utilized to attain an in-depth understanding of the participants' acculturative experience. Results: The sample consisted of 60% females and 40% males attending middle school, high school, and college with a mean age of 15.7 (SD = 3.06). Participants reported high levels of religiosity and moderate levels of perceived discrimination, ethnic language proficiency, family cohesion, and social support. Normal levels of self-esteem were reported with a mean score of 20.10 (SD = 5.01). However, findings reveal a mean score of 23.60 (SD = 9.52) on the depression scale with 45% of the sample having a score > 24, which suggests presence of depressive symptoms. Results of the linear regression model indicated that the overall model explained 22% of the variance in depression with four of the five factors (family support, religiosity, perceived discrimination, ethnic language) being related to depression (F = 9.06; p < .01, R2 = .221). Lower family support (β = -.33; p < .001), lower religiosity (β of -.20; p < .05), higher perceived discrimination (β = .19; p < .05) and ethnic language proficiency (β = -.15; p < .05) were related to higher depressive symptoms. The focus group data were taped and transcribed and Atlas.ti software was used to analyze the data. Thematic analysis revealed that participants face challenges in their identity development, socialization with peers, in educational settings, and in adapting to both their ethnic culture of their family and religious community. Implications: The findings of this study 1) provide information for educators and practitioners regarding key factors impacting the acculturation and psychosocial adaptation of immigrant Muslim youth; 2) develop a research framework for comparative studies of immigrant youth in the future; 3) suggest that preventative interventions targeting the well being of immigrant Muslim youth should aim to address ecological factors such as discrimination and strive to integrate religion, ethnic language and family support strategies.