A Multi-Method Approach to Examine Predictors and Outcomes of Muslim American Adolescents? Social Identities
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The Muslim American population is the fastest growing and one of the most discriminated against religious groups in the United States. The current socio-political climate poses profound developmental challenges for Muslim American adolescents. Adolescence is a key developmental period for identity development, but contextual stressors (e.g., Islamophobia, intergroup conflicts) might undermine Muslim American adolescents? identity development and ultimately increase their risk for experiencing psychological difficulties. Despite the challenges and needs of this growing population, there was a paucity of research examining the experiences of Muslim American adolescents. This dissertation project sought to examine predictors and outcomes of Muslim American adolescents? social identities using a risk and resilience framework. Across three independent empirical papers, this dissertation examined factors that may promote or undermine Muslim American adolescents? social identities and their positive adjustment and negative adjustment outcomes in the United States. This dissertation employed a multi-method approach (i.e., cross-sectional survey data, intensive longitudinal data combined with short-term longitudinal data). Briefly, the first paper examined: (1) the mediating role of Muslim American adolescents? religious and national identities in the cross-sectional associations between individual-level religious discrimination and internalizing and externalizing problems, and (2) the moderating role of group-level religious discrimination in the form of Islamophobia in these mediated associations. The second paper utilized a combination of short-term longitudinal survey and experience sampling methods to: (1) explore momentary fluctuations and temporal relations between two dimensions of Muslim American adolescents? religious identity (i.e., private regard and centrality) over the course of 14 days; and (2) examine if Muslim American adolescents? momentary religious identities mediated the associations between their stable perceptions of maternal religious socialization and subsequent civic engagement. Finally, the third paper explored potential time-varying (i.e., age differences) and gender differences in: (1) maternal religious socialization and (2) its relations with Muslim American adolescents? religious identity using cross-sectional survey data from 13- to 18-year-old Muslim American adolescents. The cumulative knowledge gained from the three papers of this dissertation made important empirical, theoretical, and methodological contributions, which can have implications for intervention or prevention programs and policies to promote positive youth development.