Association of Acculturative Stress, Islamic Practices, and Internalizing Symptoms Among Arab American Adolescents

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Abstract

Although the numbers of Arab American immigrant youth in schools is increasing, there is little understanding of their mental health and the sociocultural factors that might influence it. This study examined the relationship between 2 sociocultural factors (i.e., acculturative stress and religious practices) and internalizing symptoms in first- and second-generation Muslim Arab American adolescents. Adolescents (n = 88) ages 11 to 18 completed measures related to acculturative stress, religious practices, internalizing symptoms, and general demographic information. Results of multiple regression analyses found that acculturative stress significantly predicted internalizing symptoms. Gender was found to moderate this association. No differences in the reported acculturative stress and internalizing symptoms were found between youth of different generational status (i.e., first- vs. second-generation). Finally, adolescents’ organizational religious practices, but not their private religious practices, were found to be associated with lower acculturative stress. Implications are discussed related to how school psychologists can provide culturally responsive services to this population.

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