Muslim women's voices: generation, acculturation, and faith in the perceptions of mental health and psychological help
Haque-Khan, Asra, M.A.
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This study explored acculturation, religiosity, gender role ideology, generational differences, explanations of mental health symptoms, coping mechanisms, and help-seeking behavior of a sample of Muslim women in America. A mixed methodology was implemented by using both quantitative instruments and qualitative exploration. Quantitative instruments consisted of demographic information, an Islamic religiosity scale (IRS), the American International Relations scale (AIRS), and the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help scale (ATSPPH). Qualitative exploration was implemented via semi-structured interviews and a focused group session on case scenarios. Fort-two Muslim women (24 immigrant and 18 first generation) completed the quantitative measures (Phase I). From this sample of forty-two, eighteen Muslim women (nine immigrant and nine first generation) participated in the qualitative component of the study which included the semi-structured interview (Phase II), and seven (two immigrant and five first generation) from these eighteen participated in the group discussion on case scenarios. Participation was strictly voluntary. Four 2 x 2 x 2 ANCOVAs and a Multiple Regression procedure were used in analyzing quantitative data. Qualitative analysis took place by reviewing verbatim transcripts, implementing coding, writing memos, thinking about possible hypotheses and their relationships, and asking generative questions allowing this researcher to develop detailed flow charts describing the data. Although quantitative results showed no significant difference between immigrant and first generation Muslim women in their attitudes toward seeking professional help, qualitative results showed that both immigrant and first generation Muslim women revealed a stigma continuum which could be accounted for as a result of one's stage of Racial/Cultural Identity Development. Moreover, quantitative results revealed no significant difference between high religious women and low religious women in attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help. Nevertheless, qualitative analysis revealed that religious identity development was a process that helped in explaining aspects of religiosity for both immigrant and first generation Muslim women. Furthermore, Muslim women reported frustration over being judged by an external standard and a community image. Implications for theory, practice, and research are discussed.