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Perceived Religious Discrimination and its Relationship to Anxiety and Paranoia Among Muslim Americans


Abstract and Figures

Although the effects of discrimination and hate crimes among various minority member's mental health is documented, no research to date examines the correlates of perceived discrimination among Muslim Americans. Therefore, this study examined perceived discrimination and its association with subclinical paranoia and anxiety among 152 Muslim Americans. A statistically significant relationship was found between perceived religious discrimination and subclinical paranoia, but perceived discrimination and anxiety were not related. There were also significant differences among ethnic groups and between convert, immigrant, second-generation Muslims in the perception of discrimination. Results suggest that perceived discrimination among Muslim Americans is related to the expression of increased vigilance and suspicion and that group differences affect the perception of discrimination.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 1:5–20, 2006
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1556-4908 print / 1556-5009 online
DOI: 10.1080/15564900600654351
Original Research
Perceived Religious Discrimination and its
Relationship to Anxiety and Paranoia Among
Muslim Americans
University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Although the effects of discrimination and hate crimes among var-
ious minority member’s mental health is documented, no research
to date examines the correlates of perceived discrimination among
Muslim Americans. Therefore, this study examined perceived
discrimination and its association with subclinical paranoia and
anxiety among 152 Muslim Americans. A statistically significant
relationship was found between perceived religious discrimination
and subclinical paranoia, but perceived discrimination and
anxiety were not related. There were also significant differences
among ethnic groups and between convert, immigrant, second-
generation Muslims in the perception of discrimination. Results
suggest that perceived discrimination among Muslim Americans is
related to the expression of increased vigilance and suspicion and
that group differences affect the perception of discrimination.
Keywords perceived discrimination, non-clinical paranoia, Mus-
lim, minority groups
Discrimination and hate crime violence against minority groups is an
unfortunate reality of American society. Nearly half of the 9,222 hate crimes
reported in the U.S. in 2002 were the result of racial bias, and 19% were
based on religious affiliation (National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
2004). Although discrimination against Muslim Americans existed before
Address correspondence to Alyssa Rippy, Department of Psychology, Lorton Hall,
University of Tulsa, 600 South College Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74104-3189. E-mail: alyssa-rippy@
6 A. E. Rippy and E. Newman
the events of September 11, 2001 there was a sharp increase of bias
complaints by Muslims in the years following the terrorist attacks of 9–11
and the subsequent war in Iraq and Afghanistan (Council of American
Islamic Relations [CAIR], 2003). Arabs and Muslims in the United States find
themselves in the precarious situation of belonging, through either ethnic or
religious ties, to a group that has staged an attack on American soil. This
unique situation has not been faced by any ethnic group in this nation since
the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
In the wake of the 9–11 terrorist attacks, Muslim Americans became,
after Jewish Americans, the second highest group to report religiously-based
hate crimes in 2001, growing by more than 1600% over the volume reported
in the year 2000 (FBI National Uniform Crime Reporting Program, 2002).
Reported hate crimes perpetrated against Muslim Americans in 2001 and 2002
included mosque burnings, bomb threats, physical assaults, verbal assaults,
and employment discrimination. The mental health effects of perceived
discrimination and hate crimes have been studied in such groups as African
Americans (e.g. Jackson et al., 1996; Landrine & Klonoff, 1996; Thompson,
1996), Hispanics (e.g. Amaro et al., 1987; Salgado de Snyder, 1987), Asian
Americans (e.g., Lee, 2005; Noh et al., 1999; Dion et al., 1992), and Jews
(Dion & Earn, 1975), but to date no research has been conducted on how
perceived discrimination may impact the Muslim American community.
Discrimination is defined as “beliefs, attitudes, institutional arrangements
and acts that tend to denigrate or deny equal treatment to individuals or
groups based on racial characteristics or group affiliation” (Clark, Anderson,
Clark, & Williams, 1999). Discrimination can be experienced in two ways:
overt discrimination or covert discrimination. Overt discrimination occurs in
the form of name-calling or intimidation, while covert discrimination is ex-
pressed in a passive fashion, for example, not being served in a restaurant, or
receiving increased attention from law enforcement (Sellers & Shelton, 2003).
Hate crimes are defined as criminal actions that are intended to harm
or intimidate individuals based on their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation,
religion, or minority group status (Herek, Cogan, & Gillis, 1999). They include
violent assaults, murder, rape, and property crimes motivated by prejudice,
as well as threats of violence or other acts of intimidation (Finn & McNeil,
1987). Hate crimes are especially serious because they victimize an entire
class of people. They assail a victim’s identity and intimidate other group
members (Herek, 1989).
Individual Differences in the Perception of Discrimination
Although discrimination is prevalent among many minority groups, individ-
ual differences exist in the extent to which a situation is perceived as discrimi-
natory. This is due to the ambiguous nature of most discriminatory behavior.
In many cases, individuals find themselves in an attributional dilemma as
Journal of Muslim Mental Health 7
to whether the incident they just experienced was indeed discriminatory.
Certain individuals vigilantly seek out instances of discrimination while others
may minimize the same situation despite the presence of unambiguous
evidence (Sellers & Shelton, 2003).
Individual differences that may contribute to an individual’s perception
of a situation as discriminatory include such characteristics as strong group
identification and identity (Major, Quinton, & McCoy, in press), nationalism
(Sellers & Shelton, 2003), and individuals who are highly ethnically
identifiable (Operario & Fiske, 2001). Individuals who endorse these
characteristics report more personal experiences with ethnic discrimination
and are more likely to perceive themselves as targets of discrimination
(Operario & Fiske, 2001). In Branscombe et al. (1998) Rejection-Identification
model, minority group members attribute negative situations to continuing
prejudice, provoking a collectivist response that serves to strengthen group
identification, and therefore, enhance psychological well-being by buffering
the negative consequences of perceived discrimination (Brandscombe,
Schmitt, & Harvey, 1999).
Detrimental Mental Health Effects of Discrimination and Hate Crimes
Discrimination takes a toll both at the time of the incident and much
later. Evidence suggests that the type and duration of the discriminatory
experience may impact individuals differently. Acute discrimination has
been associated with psychological distress and major depression while
chronic discrimination has been linked with generalized anxiety, distress,
and depression in African Americans (Kessler, Mickelson, & Williams, 1999).
Individuals who report more experience with discrimination have higher
perceived stress, which is associated with poorer mental health outcomes
(Sellers & Shelton, 2003).
Anxiety plays an important role in the perception of discrimination.
Perceived discrimination is often an unpredictable social stressor, as it results
in greater amounts of anxiety and stress, than a predictable or controlled
stressor. Anxiety is often conceptualized as consisting of trait and state
anxiety symptoms. State anxiety is a transitory emotional response involving
both physical symptoms such as increased muscle tension and heart rate as
well as a cognitive component centered around apprehensive thoughts. Trait
anxiety is an individual difference variable that refers to the likelihood that
an individual will experience state anxiety in stressful situations (Speilberger,
1983). Evidence has shown that there is a predisposition among certain
individuals to experience state anxiety in stressful situations, while trait
anxiety moderates mood effects on information processing and intergroup
judgements (Endler, Parker, Bagby, & Cox, 1991). Therefore, state anxiety
is the result of the interaction between a specific dimension of trait anxiety,
for instance social evaluation, and a situational threat such as discrimination.
8 A. E. Rippy and E. Newman
Higher trait anxious individuals may process information in ways that result
in a defensive and cautious manner of evaluating a threatening out-group
(Devine, 1989; Lambert, Khan, Lickel, & Fricke, 1997).
To explain the relationship between discrimination and increased stress
among ethnic minorities, Clark and colleagues (1999) proposed a biopsy-
chosocial model of the effects of perceived racism among African Americans.
In this model, the perception of an environmental stimulus such as racism
results in increased or exaggerated psychological and physiological stress re-
sponses that are influenced by sociodemographic factors, psychological and
behavioral factors, and coping responses. Over time, these stress responses
result in increased anger, paranoia, helplessness, resentment, and fear. These
psychologically stressful stimuli are associated with physiological stress re-
sponses involving immune, neuroendocrine, and cardiovascular functioning.
In addition to heightened stress, adaptation to a discriminatory envi-
ronment may be related to increased vigilance, wariness, and suspicion
(Fenigstein, 1998). Significant differences have been found on many mea-
sures of clinical paranoia such as scale six of the MMPI-2 (Arbisi, Ben-Porath,
& McNulty, 2002; Butcher et al., 1989), the PAI (Morey, 1991), the SCID-II
Paranoia subscale (First et al., 1995) and the Paranoia Scale (PS) (Combs,
Penn, & Fenigstein, 2002). Rather than actual clinical differences in the levels
of paranoia present among African Americans and other ethnic minorities,
these findings suggest a consistent pattern of paranoid ideation on self-report
measures attributed to perceived discrimination experienced in the daily
lives of many minority groups (e.g., Clark et al., 1999; Fenigstein, 1998;
Dahlstrom et al., 1986). This paranoid ideation evidenced among minority
groups is subclinical and is characterized by stable tendencies marked by
self-referential bias in everyday behavior and feelings of resentment, mistrust,
suspiciousness, and belief i n external control or influence (Fenigstein &
Vanable, 1992).
Taken together, current research indicates that perceived discrimination
has mental health consequences for individuals who must successfully
navigate through what they perceive as a racist and bias environment.
Unfortunately, much of this research is hampered by its limitation to certain
ethnic populations such as African Americans (e.g., Sellers & Shelton, 2003;
Kessler et al., 1999) without addressing how perceived discrimination may
effect other groups who may be discriminated against due to religion or
other group characteristics.
The present study examined the effects of perceived discrimination
and its association with mental health in Muslim Americans. Specifically,
we studied the effects that perceptions of discrimination may have upon
sub-clinical paranoid ideation and general anxiety in the Muslim American
population. We hypothesized that perceived religious discrimination would
be positively associated with subclinical paranoia, as well as both state and
trait anxiety.
Journal of Muslim Mental Health 9
We also hypothesized that perceived discrimination would vary accord-
ing to demographic characteristics of the individual depending on whether
an individual was a Muslim immigrant to the United States, a second-
generation Muslim (defined as an individual born to immigrant parents or the
children of convert Muslims), or an adult convert to Islam. Specifically, we
postulated that second-generation and convert Muslims would have lower
levels of perceived discrimination than immigrant Muslims due to increased
identification and familiarity with the dominant American culture (Kohatsu
et al., 2000). It was also proposed that there would be ethnic differences
between such groups as Arab and Southeast Asian Muslims who perhaps
experience greater discrimination than African American or White American
Muslims due to the increased scrutiny these two groups have received since
the attacks of 9–11.
Participants were voluntarily recruited from the Muslim community within
Oklahoma, a Midwestern state and home to an estimated 12,000 to 18,000
Muslims (S. Siddiqi, personal communication, June 20, 2005). Recruitment
efforts focused on area mosques, Islamic schools, and college chapters of
the Muslim Student Association. People were invited to participate in a
research study about the effects of discrimination on Muslim Americans.
After informed consent was obtained, participants were provided with a
packet of questionnaires described below.
Of 153 people approached, 152 (92 males, 60 females) participated in the
study. There was one refusal reportedly due to fear of retribution from U.S.
government authorities. Participants’ age ranged from 18 to71 years of age.
The mean age of the sample was 33.0 (SD = 12.02) years for men and
35.38 (SD = 12.18) years for women. Overall, participants in this study were
highly educated with 49% of Muslim American participants having at least
a college degree and 25% a graduate degree. These levels of education are
consistent with levels of education for Muslims in the U.S. as a whole (Zogby
International, 2004).
Participants included 84 (56.8%) immigrant Muslims, 21 (13.8%) second-
generation Muslims, and 43 (29.1%) Muslim converts. Due to low overall
numbers in some ethnic categories, Asian American, Hispanic, and Native
American groups were excluded from the analysis and East Asian and
Southeast Asian groups were collapsed. This resulted in a total of four
ethnic groups being used in the study (See Table 1). There was a greater
10 A. E. Rippy and E. Newman
Table 1 Demographic Characteristics of the Sample
Demographics n %
Arab 62 44
Southeast Asian 31 22
African American 25 18
Caucasian American 20 16
Marital Status
Married 93 62
Single 48 32
Divorced 5 3
Widowed 4 3
High School 11 8
Some College 26 18
College 73 49
Graduate Degree 37 25
Attend Mosques Regularly
Yes 116 78
No 33 22
If female, do you wear hijab/niqab regularly?
Yes 42 69
No 19 31
If male, do you wear traditional Islamic
clothing, or a kufi regularly?
Yes 24 27
No 65 73
If male, do you keep a full beard?
Yes 26 29
No 64 71
representation of Arab and White American participants in this sample than
the national average. According to recent demographic data (Nimer, 2002),
Arab Americans make up a total of 23% of the Muslims in the U.S. while White
Americans represent only 1.6% of Muslim Americans. This is in contrast to
our sample where 44% of participants were of Arab origin and 16% were
White Americans.
Demographics included information on marital status, occupation, ethnicity,
mosque attendance, Islamic dress, and whether participants were immi-
grants, second-generation, or converts to Islam.
Participants indicated if they had experienced a hate crime or act of
discrimination, and the type and number of incidents. Included were
questions pertaining to perceptions concerning the amount of discrimination
Journal of Muslim Mental Health 11
against Muslims in the United States since the attacks of 9–11. The
questionnaire was based, in part, on a list of violent acts developed by
Ephros et al. (1986), and on types of religious discrimination documented
by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR, 2003).
The PRDS (Rippy, 2004) is based on the Race Related Stressor Scale originally
developed by Loo et al. (2001) for use with Asian American military veterans.
The measure was adapted for use with a civilian, Muslim population by
changing words regarding ethnicity and the military context. The PRDS is
a 34-item, self-report scale that measures perceived religious discrimination
among Muslims on three dimensions. Religious Prejudice and Stigmatization
scale measures direct personal exposure to religious prejudice. Bicultural
Identification and Conflict scale measures the cognitive conflict which arises
during a time of war when an individual identifies with both the people
and culture termed “the enemy,” and the dominant society within which the
individual must navigate their daily lives. Finally the Perception of a Racist
Environment scale measures the extent to which an individual has witnessed
behaviors that degenerate, harass, or dehumanize the group to which they
belong. A summed score permits a measure of total perceived discrimination.
Internal consistency scores for this study were PRDS Total (α = .91), Racial
Prejudice and Discrimination (α = .91), Bicultural Identification (α = .82),
and Racist Environment (α = .85).
The EMAS-S (Endler, Edwards, & Vitelli, 1991) is a 20-item, self-report pencil
and paper measure of state anxiety. It is scored on a 1–5-point intensity
scale. Ten of the items measure a cognitive worry (CW), and the other
ten items measure autonomic-emotional (AE) component of state anxiety.
The two subscales may be combined for a total state anxiety score. In this
study, the EMAS-S scale scores demonstrated a good internal consistency CW
(α = .90)andAE(α = .91).
The EMAS-T is a 60-item, self-report, multidimensional measure of trait
anxiety (Endler, Edwards, & Vitelli, 1991). Responses on the EMAS-T
are scored on a 1–5 intensity scale. Items tap both cognitive-worry and
autonomic-emotional components of anxiety. The EMAS-T produces four
separate scores, one for each dimension of trait anxiety (Bagby & Cox, 1991).
These include social evaluation (SE), physical danger (PD), ambiguous (AM),
and daily routines (DR). Internal consistency scores for this measure were
SE (α = .51), PD (α = .89), AM (α = .86), and DR (α = .86).
12 A. E. Rippy and E. Newman
The PS (Fengistein & Vanable, 1992) is a 20-item scale that measures
subclinical levels of paranoid ideation, is scored on a 1–5 Likert scale.
Higher scores reflect increased levels of subclinical paranoia. The PS was
developed for use in an analogue sample and was not intended for clinical
or diagnostic use. It has been shown to be useful as a measure of normal
paranoid ideation in research studies (Combs, Penn, & Fenigstein, 2002). The
scale demonstrated good internal consistency in this study (α = .89).
Preliminary Analysis
Descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) were calculated for
all measures (see Table 2). Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA)
were conducted for each of the measures to determine whether groups
could be collapsed across gender. There were no statistically significant
gender differences (p > .05) except on the PS,F (1, 127) = 6.226, p < .01,
therefore, the correlational analyses using the PS was conducted separately
by gender. There were no statistical differences on exposure to hate crimes
or discrimination for immigrant, second-generation, or convert Muslims F (2,
147) = .275, p = .760 or among ethnic groups F (3, 128) = .544, p = .653.
Participant Experience of Discrimination Against Muslims
Of the 147 participants who responded, the majority of participants (91.2%,
n = 134) believed that discrimination against Muslims in the United States
Table 2 Means and Standard Deviations of Measures
Measure MSD
Perceived Religious Discrimination Scale-Total 60.76 21.81
Religious prejudice and stigmatization 30.38 15.69
Bicultural identification and conflict 12.86 5.74
Racist environment 17.50 5.74
Endler Multidimensional Anxiety Scale-State 25.62 10.11
Cognitive worry 13.16 5.61
Autonomic arousal 12.46 4.79
Endler Multidimensional Anxiety Scale-Trait
Social evaluation 42.06 11.61
Physical danger 52.72 12.63
Ambiguous situations 41.55 9.02
Daily routines 26.76 9.21
Paranoia Scale
Male 40.54 12.30
Female 35.28 10.70
Journal of Muslim Mental Health 13
had increased since the attacks of September 11th, while .6% (n = 1) believed
that discrimination had decreased, and 8.2% (n = 12) reported that religious
discrimination against Muslims had remained the same. Fifty-three percent
(n = 80) reported that personal exposure to discrimination had increased
since 9–11, while 43.6% (n = 65) believed it had remained the same, and
2.7% believed that personal discrimination had decreased. A total of 54%
(n = 83) reported being the victim of an incident of hate crime violence
or discrimination at some time in their life. The most common form of
discrimination experienced was verbal harassment (n = 51), followed by
passenger profiling on airlines (n = 26), unfair employment practices (n =
19), government profiling (n = 18), job termination or denial of employment
(n = 14), mail or telephone threats (n = 11), denial of religious accommo-
dation (n = 10), symbols or slogans of hate on or near property (n = 8),
harassment by police or FBI (n = 5), physical assault (n = 4), acts of
vandalism (n = 3), and attacks on homes (n = 3).
Bivariate Correlation Analysis
Pearson correlations were used to determine if there was a positive corre-
lation between measures of perceived discrimination, subclinical paranoia,
and anxiety (see Table 3). A statistically significant correlation was found
for males on measures of subclinical paranoid ideation and perceived
discrimination; however no relationship was found between perceived
discrimination and either state or trait anxiety.
Analysis of Variance
Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) tested the second and third
hypothesis regarding whether statistically significant difference in perceived
Table 3 Pearson Correlation Among Measures
Scales/Measures 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. PRDS Total 1.00
2. Paranoia Scale (Male) .42
3. Paranoia Scale (female) .01 1.00
4. EMAS State Total .08 .35 .16 1.00
5. Ambiguous Situations .06 .11 .01 .49
6. Social Evaluation .14 .22 .07 .38
7. Physical Danger .17 .16 .20 .21 .35
8. Daily Routine .009 .41 .30 .21 .13 .06 .41
Note: PRDS Total = Perceived Religious Discrimination Scale; EMAS State Total = Endler Multi Dimension
Anxiety Scale-State.
Correlation is significant at the. 05 level (2-tailed).
Correlation is significant at the. 01 level (2-tailed).
14 A. E. Rippy and E. Newman
discrimination existed among immigrant, second-generation, and convert
Muslims, as well as among different ethnic groups. Racial Prejudice and
Stigmatization, Bicultural Identification, and Racist Environment were entered
as dependent variables. The overall multivariate test statistic was significant
for ethnicity, multivariate F (9, 137) = 1.94, p < .04. There was a statistically
significant difference among groups for Bicultural Identification and Conflict
F (3, 137) = 5.90, p < .001, and Exposure to a Racist Environment F (3,
137) = 3.00, p < .03. Arabs experienced significantly greater bicultural
identification than both Southeast Asians (mean difference = 5.21, p <
.0001) and African Americans (mean difference = 3.95, p < .01). While
White Americans reported significant differences between group means for
Exposure to a Racist Environment with a mean difference (mean difference
= 4.01, p < .05) over that of Arabs.
Among convert, second-generation, and immigrant Muslims the overall
multivariate test statistic was significant, multivariate F (6, 137) = 2.44, p
< .02. Further analysis revealed statistically significant difference among
convert, immigrant, and second-generation Muslims for Exposure to a Racist
Environment F (3, 137) = 3.28, p < .02. Post hoc analysis revealed that there
were significant mean differences with second-generation Muslims showing
significantly greater scores than both convert (mean difference = 3.74,
p < .05) and immigrant Muslims (mean difference = 4.26, p < .01) on
measures of exposure to a racist environment.
Several interesting findings were demonstrated in this study. Many partici-
pants reported an increased perception of societal discrimination since the
attacks of 9–11 compared to a moderate perception of an increase of personal
discrimination. This is not unusual, as there is a tendency for individuals to
consistently rate discrimination directed at their group substantially higher
than discrimination aimed at themselves (Ruggerio & Taylor, 1997). It is
hypothesized that by minimizing personal discrimination, minority group
members maintain control over personal events in their lives in both
the performance and social domains in a manner that is psychologically
beneficial (Ruggerio & Taylor, 1997).
Our hypothesis concerning an association among perceived discrimi-
nation and anxiety was not supported. The lack of a statistically significant
correlation between perceived discrimination and measures of state and trait
anxiety in this study contradicts past research that has found a relationship
between perception of prejudice and anxiety (Landrine & Klonoff, 1996).
Perhaps among Muslim Americans, state and trait anxiety are not related to
perceptions of discrimination or it could be the case that a measure that
examined behaviorally based symptoms of anxiety or somatization would
Journal of Muslim Mental Health 15
have been more effective for this population. Alternatively, since the sample
size, in this study, needed to detect a medium effect size was not met for the
anxiety measures, insufficient power may explain the lack of a significant
The hypothesized relationship between the extent of exposure to
perceived religious discrimination and increased suspicion, vigilance, and
mistrust was supported among Muslim American males. The gender
differences associated with subclinical paranoid ideation found in this study
may be due in large part to the impact of the fear, suspicion, and anger
leveled at Muslim men and those who appeared to be of Arab origin in the
wake of the 9–11 attacks (CAIR, 2003). These results suggest that for Muslim
men, the greater the perception of a discriminatory and hostile environment,
the greater the amount of suspicion, mistrust, and wariness (e.g., Combs,
Penn, & Fenigstein, 2002; Clark et al., 1999; Fenigstein, 1998).
Of particular interest to clinicians treating Muslim American clients is
the degree to which hypervigilance and selective attention to incidents
of religious bias may be apparent in Muslim clients who perceive their
environment as discriminatory. Hypervigilance, brought about by an increase
in paranoia, may result in social withdrawal or isolation within one’s racial,
religious, or ethnic group. This withdrawal may serve as an avoidance
or escape response from aversive or discriminatory social situations for
individuals whose negative social interactions have resulted in discriminatory
behavior, thus reinforcing a paranoid cognitive schema (Heilbrun, 1975). The
resulting social isolation may intensify subclinical paranoia felt by Muslim
American males, expanding and intensifying suspicion and avoidance,
eventually leading to beliefs that are more resistant to modification (Cameron,
1943). This increase in suspicion may also result in inflated scores on
assessment instruments measuring symptoms of paranoia and a tendency
to over-pathologize Muslim men who present in mental health clinics.
A tendency toward wariness and mistrust resulting from exposure to
discrimination may also result in Muslim men avoiding mental health
treatment from non-Muslim clinicians or negatively impacting the therapeutic
alliance for those who do seek help.
Our hypothesis concerning ethnic differences in the perception of
discrimination was partially supported. Arab participants, in particular, have
greater levels of identification with the civilian populations of Iraq and
Afghanistan. Bicultural identification and conflict can result in psychological
strife caused by ethnic or cultural identification with the victims of a war in
which individuals believe themselves to be caught between sides, identifying
with both the American military and Iraqi or Afghani civilian casualties. This
bicultural conflict may be exacerbated by the pictures of civilian casualties
broadcast by Arab television stations, such as Al-Jazeera, or other Arabic
language news programs that are beamed into many Arab American homes
daily via satellite.
16 A. E. Rippy and E. Newman
In this study, White American participants viewed society’s regard and
treatment of Muslims as more discriminatory than other groups included
in the study. White American Muslims are unique among groups in
this study since they experience purely religious discrimination, devoid
of the influence of ethnicity. Therefore, they may attribute the majority
of discriminatory experiences solely to the fact that they are Muslim,
creating a hyper-vigilance or lack of ambiguity to perceived religious
discrimination. This finding is consistent with recent research (Branscombe,
1998; Branscombe, Schiffhauer, & Valencia, 1998) that has shown that
dominant group members, in this case White Americans, who from an ethnic
standpoint belong to a valued group within the United States, are more likely
than devalued group members to be vigilant to perceived discriminatory
behavior. This is in contrast to devalued groups who tend to minimize
Contrary to our hypothesis, immigrant and convert Muslims perceive sig-
nificantly less discrimination in society than second-generation Muslims. The
greater amount of societal discrimination perceived by second-generation
Muslims contradicts recent research that has shown that children born to
immigrant parents have higher levels of acculturation and lower levels of
perceived discrimination (Kohatsu et al., 2000). This result may point to
less acculturation and higher minority group identification among second-
generation Muslim Americans than is found among other racial and ethnic
minorities in the United States.
The results of this study are consistent with research showing that
race-related stress is associated with aversive psychological symptoms. These
findings extend the understanding of the relationship between perceived
religious discrimination and subclinical paranoid ideation, an association that
may prove to be important in the understanding of the effects that chronic
perceived discrimination has upon ethnic and religious minorities who must
contend with discriminatory behavior in their everyday lives. These findings
will be beneficial to clinicians who are treating an increasingly larger number
of Muslim clients as the population of Muslims in the U.S. grows (U.S. State
Department, 2001). Clinicians should be aware of the role that perceived
discrimination might play in a client’s presenting symptoms. Muslim clients’
perceptions of discrimination should be assessed and clinicians should
be attentive for signs of social withdrawal, suspicion, or hypervigilance
especially among males.
Limitations of this study include a lack of generalizablity to the entire
Muslim American population due to the use of a sample of convenience. In
fact, this sample over-represented Muslims who attended religious services.
This may heighten the degree of perceived discrimination due to a higher
identification with a Muslim identity among individuals who are more
religious. In addition, there was a higher proportion of White American and
Arab Muslims than in the U.S. population as a whole. A third limitation of
Journal of Muslim Mental Health 17
our sample is the preponderance of highly educated participants. Research
has shown that reported discrimination is positively associated with higher
education levels (Kessler et al., 1999) and this might have resulted in a greater
perception of discrimination than would be found in a less educated sample.
The notion of multi-reasoned discrimination (Kessler et al., 1999) should also
be considered when examining these results. Although this study focused on
religious discrimination, several other types of discrimination such as race,
gender, age, and socioeconomic status may affect the level of discrimination
that one perceives in society. A final limitation is that two of the measures,
the PS and EMAS-S and EMAS-T were not validated specifically with Muslims.
Although both of these measures have been validated among several ethnic
minorities (Fengistein & Vanable, 1992; Endler, Edwards, & Vitelli, 1991)
including those represented in this study, their use with religious groups
has never been specifically examined. Furthermore, causality cannot be
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... In particular, the current investigation sought to examine associations between self-reported bullying and characteristics of the target that may contribute to social difficulties such as atypicality, attention problems, somatization, and social stress. It is also important to note that since there are documented challenges in the literature with respect to recruiting Muslim American participants (Amer & Bagasra, 2013;Awad, 2010;Rippy & Newman, 2006), which is amplified when working with participants who are minors, we expected a small sample size. Our goal was to recruit a reasonably sized sample to explore correlates of bullying that have, heretofore, been unexamined in the literature and to contribute to the literature on empirically derived strategies for bullying prevention work with this population. ...
... The challenges of recruiting adequate samples of American Muslim youth has been well-established in the literature (Awad, 2010;Rippy & Newman, 2006). Evidence suggests that American Muslims are fearful of how their data will be used, concerned about confidentiality, and are suspicious that research is related to government surveillance post 9-11 (Amer & Bagasra, 2013). ...
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This exploratory study examined psychosocial correlates of bullying within a sample of American Muslim youth between the ages of 12 and 18 (n = 86; Mage = 13.47, SDage = 1.62; 64% female). Hierarchical regressions were used to examine the associations between atypicality, hyperactivity, somatization, social stress, and bullying while person-based analyses were used to explore the extent to which the coalescence of psychosocial challenges was associated with greater bullying. Overall, the results of both variable- and person-based analyses converged on the same finding—American Muslim youth exhibiting high levels of psychosocial distress across different dimensions also experienced the highest rates of bullying. Recommendations for strengthening school-based anti-bullying approaches to protect Muslim targets are discussed.
... Previous literature has concluded that discrimination is associated with a range of poor mental health outcomes including depression, psychological distress, anxiety, and reduced well-being (Paradies, 2006;Williams et al., 2003). In relation to psychosis, some studies have suggested that discrimination is associated with subclinical symptoms, although not symptoms of clinical severity (Combs et al., 2006;Rippy and Newman, 2006). One study examined the relationship between perceived ethnic discrimination and paranoia in individuals at ultrahigh-risk (UHR) for psychosis using a virtual reality paradigm to objectively measure paranoia (Shaikh et al., 2016). ...
... Perceived discrimination was the strongest positive predictor of paranoia in the correlation, regression, and moderation analyses, highlighting the importance of these kinds of victimization experiences for ethnic minority communities. This observation is consistent with previous research that suggests discrimination is associated with a wide range of mental health difficulties (Paradies, 2006;Rippy and Newman, 2006;Williams et al., 2003), particularly paranoia (Wickham et al., 2014). Paradoxically, in our simple regression analyses, implicit Pakistani identification positively predicted levels of paranoia, whereas in Thomas et al.'s (2017) study, implicit identification with Arabic culture (the majority) had the opposite effect in their regression analysis. ...
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Individuals belonging to ethnic minority groups are less likely to experience symptoms of psychosis, such as paranoia, if they live in areas with high proportions of people from the same ethnic background. This effect may be due to processes associated with group belonging (social identification). We examined whether the relationship between perceived discrimination and paranoia was moderated by explicit and implicit Pakistani/English identification among students of Pakistani heritage (N = 119). Participants completed measures of explicit and implicit Pakistani and English identity, a measure of perceived discrimination, and a measure of paranoia. Perceived discrimination was the strongest predictor of paranoia (0.31). Implicit identities moderated the relationship between perceived discrimination and paranoia (−0.17). The findings suggest that higher levels of implicit Pakistani identity were most protective against high levels of paranoia (0.26, with low implicit English identity; 0.78, with medium English identity; 1.46, with high English identity). Overall, a complex relationship between identity and paranoia was apparent.
... After the events of September 11 2001, the well-being of Muslims in Western countries who face discrimination have been addressed in numerous studies (see e.g. Abu-Ras & Abu-Bader, 2008;Jasperse et al., 2012;Jackson & Doerschler, 2012;Brown et al., 2015;Kunst et al., 2012;Rippy & Newman, 2006). On the one hand, these studies show how religious engagement and religious practices were associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, thereby supporting the idea that religious practices and communities can be effective coping strategies (Pargament et al., 2000). ...
... After the events of September 11 2001, the well-being of Muslims in Western countries who face discrimination have been addressed in numerous studies (see e.g. Abu-Ras & Abu-Bader, 2008;Jasperse et al., 2012;Jackson & Doerschler, 2012;Brown et al., 2015;Kunst et al., 2012;Rippy & Newman, 2006). On the one hand, these studies show how religious engagement and religious practices were associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, thereby supporting the idea that religious practices and communities can be effective coping strategies (Pargament et al., 2000). ...
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How can we make sense of religion and spirituality in a cross-cultural perspective? Is it at all possible to compare what we are used to calling ‘religion’ across different cultures? In this chapter we use findings from Faith Q-studies (FQS) in 12 different countries to investigate variance of religion and spirituality from an international perspective. Our results shed light on themes and variations and show the capacity of the FQS to systematically recognize recurring themes while also remaining sensitive to unique but significant nuances across samples. We further propose that the term family resemblance catches well how to comprehend the complexity of variation and provides a conceptual contribution to the debate on universalism vs. particularism.
... After the events of September 11 2001, the well-being of Muslims in Western countries who face discrimination have been addressed in numerous studies (see e.g. Abu-Ras & Abu-Bader, 2008;Jasperse et al., 2012;Jackson & Doerschler, 2012;Brown et al., 2015;Kunst et al., 2012;Rippy & Newman, 2006). On the one hand, these studies show how religious engagement and religious practices were associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, thereby supporting the idea that religious practices and communities can be effective coping strategies (Pargament et al., 2000). ...
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In many studies of young adults, prosocial attitudes and behaviors are on the agenda. The often reported decline in civic engagement among young adults is generally presented as a concern. Prosocial attitudes and behaviors have been linked to aspects of well-being; high scores on some prosocial attitude indicators are seen as a sign of positive adjustment. Prosocial attitudes and behaviors are also key in discussions of civic engagement, volunteering, and altruism – aspects, in a sense, of the well-being of a society, and they are also of interest in discussions of religion. Commonly, a link between prosociality and religion has been indicated. In this chapter, we bring together findings from the research project Young Adults and Religion in Global Perspective (YARG) for an overview of prosocial attitudes and behaviors among young adult university students. We focus particularly on civic engagement and volunteering. Based on survey data, we first briefly explore who expresses prosocial attitudes and behaviors and the values connected to prosocial behaviors. This perspective offers only tentative answers. For a more in-depth view, we continue by exploring the data from the Faith Q-Sort. Finally, we zoom in on two examples, Turkey and Sweden, and compare the views on civic engagement and volunteering among young adults in these two contexts.
... After the events of September 11 2001, the well-being of Muslims in Western countries who face discrimination have been addressed in numerous studies (see e.g. Abu-Ras & Abu-Bader, 2008;Jasperse et al., 2012;Jackson & Doerschler, 2012;Brown et al., 2015;Kunst et al., 2012;Rippy & Newman, 2006). On the one hand, these studies show how religious engagement and religious practices were associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, thereby supporting the idea that religious practices and communities can be effective coping strategies (Pargament et al., 2000). ...
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Recent research indicates that global changes in life views, religion, and values are taking place. This study explores reflections of these changes on the religious subjectivities and value profiles of young adult Muslim students in Turkey and in Israel. These cases were chosen based on their similar religious backgrounds on the one hand, and the large differences in their cultural and political contexts on the other. Our findings are based on a mixed-method study, Young Adults and Religion in a Global Perspective (YARG), which includes the Schwartz’s value survey (PVQ-RR) and the Faith Q-Sort-method (FQS) developed by Prof. David Wulff. Muslim students in Israel reported higher degrees of self- and family religiosity, and involvement in religious practices in private, as compared to Muslim students in Turkey. Furthermore, the analysis of the FQS yielded five different prototypes for each group, and similarities between certain pairs of prototypes were observed. Our results indicate that despite the shared religious affiliation to Islam, the cultural context of each group contributes largely to differences in religious subjectivities and values between young adult Muslim students in Turkey and in Israel. Such a comparison valuably contributes to understanding the socio-psychological factors that shape the results of the interchange between processes of convergence of cultural values with the persistence of traditional values.
... After the events of September 11 2001, the well-being of Muslims in Western countries who face discrimination have been addressed in numerous studies (see e.g. Abu-Ras & Abu-Bader, 2008;Jasperse et al., 2012;Jackson & Doerschler, 2012;Brown et al., 2015;Kunst et al., 2012;Rippy & Newman, 2006). On the one hand, these studies show how religious engagement and religious practices were associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, thereby supporting the idea that religious practices and communities can be effective coping strategies (Pargament et al., 2000). ...
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In this chapter, we explore uncommon worldviews, meaning that we take a closer look at outlier respondents in a larger international sample from 12 countries. These outliers are the ones whose personal outlooks did not match any of the major worldview types found in the national case studies. First, we identify shared patterns amongst these respondents. Second, we place these outlier outlook types on a broader worldview map. Juxtaposing the outlier outlooks with the results from other case studies allows us to identify idiosyncratic worldviews. Certain outlooks would not stand out in analyses of single case studies, but bringing them together in a cross-cultural comparison enables us to see patterns shared by individuals across different national contexts. This also reveals better such worldviews that incorporate those elements, which normally are distributed amongst opposing viewpoints. The emergence of these outlook types can support the development of a nuanced theory of religious subjectivities.
... After the events of September 11 2001, the well-being of Muslims in Western countries who face discrimination have been addressed in numerous studies (see e.g. Abu-Ras & Abu-Bader, 2008;Jasperse et al., 2012;Jackson & Doerschler, 2012;Brown et al., 2015;Kunst et al., 2012;Rippy & Newman, 2006). On the one hand, these studies show how religious engagement and religious practices were associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, thereby supporting the idea that religious practices and communities can be effective coping strategies (Pargament et al., 2000). ...
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Recent studies suggest that being part of a minority group is associated with increased exposure to stress, but what happens if we also account for the effect of religion? This chapter explores minority stress in relation to expectations that religion as capital would positively affect subjective well-being. It is based on the survey data from the project Young Adults and Religion in a Global Perspective. Subjective discrimination and public- and private religious activity are explored in relation to subjective well-being and religious capital. Our data covers a variety of national contexts and allows for an interdisciplinary approach to minority stress theory. The findings suggest that multiple causes of discrimination are associated with lower levels of subjective well-being independent of national context. However, religious capital has different impacts on subjective well-being dependent on national context. The chapter concludes with a reflection on these results, on single and multiple causes of discrimination and the relation to religious capital and suggestions for future research.
... After the events of September 11 2001, the well-being of Muslims in Western countries who face discrimination have been addressed in numerous studies (see e.g. Abu-Ras & Abu-Bader, 2008;Jasperse et al., 2012;Jackson & Doerschler, 2012;Brown et al., 2015;Kunst et al., 2012;Rippy & Newman, 2006). On the one hand, these studies show how religious engagement and religious practices were associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, thereby supporting the idea that religious practices and communities can be effective coping strategies (Pargament et al., 2000). ...
Full-text available
This chapter explores the worldviews and values from a pooled data of non-religious young adults undergoing higher education from 12 countries. From an initial pool of 559, 75 respondents were chosen based on screening questions on religious identity and belonging. The exploration of worldview prototypes is done through utilizing Faith Q-Sort. The emerging worldview prototypes are interpreted further with the survey data, most importantly the ratings of different types of motivational values. The values survey is based on the Portrait Values Questionnaire. The findings of this study indicate that there are several non-religious outlooks that can accommodate openness towards religion or spirituality. Their only common ground is that they do not consistently reject all aspects of religion. The values of the non-religious respondents were in line with previous studies with self-direction values, but diverged by placing high value on benevolence. Interesting differences between the value profiles of the different non-religious outlook types were discovered, pointing to the relevance of taking into account the outlook variety internal to non-religion.
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Objective The purpose of this study was to explore perspectives of Muslims residing in the Bay Area, California on the role of the mosque community in supporting community members’ mental health needs and barriers to mental health care for members who experience mental health challenges. Methods This study employed a CBPR-focused qualitative approach in the form of content analysis of three focus group discussions organized and conducted with the help of a Community Advisory Board made up of members of the Muslim Community Association. Results Two major themes were identified upon examination of the data: services needed in the mosque community and barriers to addressing mental health issues in the mosque community. Specifically, participants reported wanting support groups within the mosque space, mosque-based activities, virtual support, community social workers, and family-oriented services. Barriers reported included community stigma, lack of cultural awareness of race-ethnic minorities within the community, attribution of mental illness to lack of faith or supernatural causes, and specific barriers unique to vulnerable/special subgroups within the community. Conclusion These findings highlight the need for developing mental health-related services and social support initiatives within the mosque space, specifically for those Muslim Americans living in the Bay Area in California. Furthermore, special attention needs to be placed on the barriers to accessing these services as identified by the community members.
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This article describes the development and validation of the Race-Related Stressor Scale (RRSS), a questionnaire that assesses exposure to race-related stressors in the military and war zone. Validated on a sample of 300 Asian American Vietnam veterans, the RRSS has high internal consistency and adequate temporal stability. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that exposure to race-related stressors accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and general psychiatric symptoms, over and above (by 20% and 19%, respectively) that accounted for by combat exposure and military rank. The RRSS appears to be a psychometrically sound measure of exposure to race-related stressors for this population. Race-related stressors as measured by the RRSS appear to contribute uniquely and substantially to PTSD symptoms and generalized psychiatric distress.
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In this article, the authors develop a brief questionnaire that assesses racist discrimination in the lives ofAfricanAmericans, and conduct preliminary studies with it. The Schedule of Racist Events (SRE) is an 18-item self-report inventory that assesses the frequency of racist discrimination (specific, stressful racist events) in the past year (recent racist events) and in one's entire life (lifetime racist events), and measures the extent to which this discrimination was evaluated (appraised) as stressful (appraised racist events). Results revealed that the SRE has extremely high internal consistency and split-half reliability. Racist discrimination is rampant in the lives of African Americans and is strongly related to psychiatric symptoms and to cigarette smoking. These findings highlight the negative consequences of racismandprovide evidencefor the validity of the SRE as a measure of (culturally specific) stress.
This study investigated the resilience of 84 Korean American college students in the context of perceived ethnic discrimination. Two cultural resources, multidimensional ethnic identity and other-group orientation, were hypothesized as protective factors that moderate the negative effects of discrimination. Only 1 aspect of ethnic identity was found to have a moderation effect. Specifically, ethnic identity pride operated as a protective-reactive factor that moderated the effects of discrimination on depressive symptoms and social connectedness but not on self-esteem. Ethnic identity pride and perceived discrimination had first-order effects on self-esteem.
Various authors have noted that interethnic group and intraethnic group racism are significant stressors for many African Americans. As such, intergroup and intragroup racism may play a role in the high rates of morbidity and mortality in this population. Yet, although scientific examinations of the effects of stress have proliferated, few researchers have explored the psychological, social, and physiological effects of perceived racism among African Americans. The purpose of this article was to outline a biopsychosocial model for perceived racism as a guide for future research. The first section of this article provides a brief overview of how racism has been conceptualized in the scientific literature. The second section reviews research exploring the existence of intergroup and intragroup racism. A contextual model for systematic studies of the biopsychosocial effects of perceived racism is then presented, along with recommendations for future research.
Three studies tested basic assumptions derived from a theoretical model based on the dissociation of automatic and controlled processes involved in prejudice. Study 1 supported the model's assumption that high- and low-prejudice persons are equally knowledgeable of the cultural stereotype. The model suggests that the stereotype is automatically activated in the presence of a member (or some symbolic equivalent) of the stereotyped group and that low-prejudice responses require controlled inhibition of the automatically activated stereotype. Study 2, which examined the effects of automatic stereotype activation on the evaluation of ambiguous stereotype-relevant behaviors performed by a race-unspecified person, suggested that when subjects' ability to consciously monitor stereotype activation is precluded, both high- and low-prejudice subjects produce stereotype-congruent evaluations of ambiguous behaviors. Study 3 examined high- and low-prejudice subjects' responses in a consciously directed thought-listing task. Consistent with the model, only low-prejudice subjects inhibited the automatically activated stereotype-congruent thoughts and replaced them with thoughts reflecting equality and negations of the stereotype. The relation between stereotypes and prejudice and implications for prejudice reduction are discussed.
Conference Paper
The processes involved in well-being maintenance among African Americans who differed in their attributions to prejudice were examined. A rejection-identification model was proposed where stable attributions to prejudice represent rejection by the dominant group. This results in a direct and negative effect on well-being. The model also predicts a positive effect on well-being that is mediated by minority group identification. In other words, the generally negative consequences of perceiving oneself as a victim of racial prejudice can be somewhat alleviated by identification with the minority group. Structural equation analyses provided support for the model and ruled out alternative theoretical possibilities. Perceiving prejudice as pervasive produces effects on well-being that are fundamentally different from those that may arise from an unstable attribution to prejudice for a single negative outcome.
The purpose of this study was to examine the use of racial identity attitudes as predictors of racial mistrust (perceived interpersonal racism) of African Americans and other racial contact variables among Asian Americans. A packet consisting of the Visible Racial/Ethnic Group Members (VREG) Identity Attitudes Scale, Cultural Mistrust Inventory, Marlow‐Crowne Social Desirability Scale, Racial Contact Scale, and a demographic data sheet was administered to 160 participants. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that racial identity attitudes significantly predicted racial mistrust, overall group impression, 4 racial stereotypes, and 2 quality of racial contact variables in ways consistent with racial identity theory. Implications of the findings for Asian American psychology, counseling, and race relations research are discussed.
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Two studies investigate the association between ethnic identity and perceptions of prejudice. Study 1 examined the relationship between ethnic identity and the personal-group discrimination discrepancy (PGD) among ethnic minority and White respondents. High-identified minorities reported increased personal vulnerability to discrimination and less PGD, whereas less-identified minorities conformed more to the PGD phenomenon. Whites also reported more personal than group discrimination, but ethnic identity did not moderate this effect. Study 2 examined minorities’ perceptions of prejudice in an interaction with a White confederate, who displayed either obvious or subtle prejudice. High-identified minorities showed stronger reactions to subtle prejudice than did low-identified minorities, who tended to overlook subtle prejudice. The authors relate findings to principles from stigma research, social identity, and self-categorization theory and suggest that ethnic identity can explain why some minorities perceive prejudice when others do not.