The trauma of discrimination: Posttraumatic stress in muslim American college students

Sarah R. Lowe, Petty Tineo, Jessica L. Bonumwezi, E. James Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Muslim Americans have been increasingly the targets of discrimination. Whereas prior research suggests that higher perceived discrimination is associated with more severe symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in various minority groups, only 1 prior study has explored this topic among Muslim Americans. The current study included 145 Muslim American college students and assessed PTSD symptoms in reference to both participants' self-identified worst lifetime Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) trauma and lifetime discrimination. Higher past-year perceived discrimination was associated with more severe DSM trauma- and discrimination-related PTSD symptoms. No significant differences were detected in the severity of overall DSM trauma- and discriminationrelated PTSD symptoms, or in key predictors of each outcome; however, participants reported significantly more severe intrusion symptoms in reference to their worst DSM trauma than to discrimination. The results suggest that discrimination can trigger PTSD symptoms directly and exacerbate PTSD symptoms related to traumatic events as defined in the DSM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Muslim Americans
  • Perceived discrimination
  • Posttraumatic stress


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