Impact of perceived discrimination on depression and anxiety among Muslim college students: The role of acculturative stress, religious support, and Muslim identity.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the United States, Muslims have increasingly been the targets of discrimination. While prior research suggests that increased perceived discrimination is associated with elevated depression and anxiety symptoms in this population, no existing studies have explored whether this relationship is mediated by acculturative stress, and few have examined potential moderating factors. This study aimed to investigate whether acculturative stress mediates the relationship between perceived discrimination and depression and anxiety symptoms, as well as examine the moderating roles of Muslim identity and religious support. Participants included 205 Muslim college students, who completed an online survey. Findings revealed that the indirect effect of perceived discrimination on depression and anxiety symptoms via acculturative stress was statistically significant. In addition, religious support emerged as a significant moderator, with higher levels of religious support increasing the strength of the indirect effect on depression and anxiety symptoms. The results suggest clinicians and higher education staff working with Muslim college students should assess for perceptions of discrimination and acculturative stress, as well as examine the role that religious support plays in that individual’s life. Future research should examine how discrimination, acculturative stress, and involvement in one’s religious congregation affect mental health outcomes, as well as investigate whether these findings are generalizable to other religions. Research on the impact of discrimination and acculturative stress on the mental health of U.S. Muslims is limited. Findings of this study show that experiences of discrimination are related to higher depression and anxiety symptoms in Muslim college students via acculturative stress, and this effect is heightened for those with high levels of religious support. Higher education institutions and clinicians serving Muslim college students should assess for perceptions of discrimination and acculturative stress, while also examining the role of religious support in their lives. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • acculturative stress
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • Muslim Americans
  • perceived discrimination

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