Academic Field

Psychology

Faculty Mentor Name

Nicholas R. Eaton

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Despite the emerging field of mental health research in Muslim populations, previous studies have reported conflicting findings regarding the connection between psychological well-being and explicit religiosity (i.e., visibility of Muslim women via hijab, headscarf and loose fitted clothing) for those living in predominantly non-Muslim countries. The purpose of the current study was to quantitatively explore the relationship between hijab and mental health of Muslim women in the United States. A total of 50 Muslim women (25 hijabis and 25 non-hijabis) completed a battery of scales measuring their depressive symptoms, anxiety, self-esteem, and various aspects of their religiosity. No significant group differences were found between hijabis and non-hijabis. However, more frequent wearing of loose fitted clothing was associated with higher mental well-being. Although no group differences were found between natives and migrants, older age at time of immigration to the United States for migrants correlated with lower reports of depression and anxiety. While self-reported religiosity had strong negative correlations with depression and anxiety, it was uncorrelated with frequency of hijab. Thus, regardless of hijab frequency, religiosity appears to be a worthwhile variable for investigation as a potential buffer against psychological distress. Hierarchical linear regression analyses indicated that frequency of loose fitting clothing incrementally predicted psychological well-being above and beyond age, migrant status, religiosity, and hijab frequency. Future implications of these results are discussed in terms of culturally sensitive support for both hijabi and non-hijabi Muslim women living in the United States.

Keywords

Religion; Mental health; Muslim women

Start Date

10-4-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

10-4-2015 2:45 PM

Location

SERC House of Fields

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Apr 10th, 2:00 PM Apr 10th, 2:45 PM

Hijab, religiosity, and mental health in Muslim women in the United States

SERC House of Fields

Despite the emerging field of mental health research in Muslim populations, previous studies have reported conflicting findings regarding the connection between psychological well-being and explicit religiosity (i.e., visibility of Muslim women via hijab, headscarf and loose fitted clothing) for those living in predominantly non-Muslim countries. The purpose of the current study was to quantitatively explore the relationship between hijab and mental health of Muslim women in the United States. A total of 50 Muslim women (25 hijabis and 25 non-hijabis) completed a battery of scales measuring their depressive symptoms, anxiety, self-esteem, and various aspects of their religiosity. No significant group differences were found between hijabis and non-hijabis. However, more frequent wearing of loose fitted clothing was associated with higher mental well-being. Although no group differences were found between natives and migrants, older age at time of immigration to the United States for migrants correlated with lower reports of depression and anxiety. While self-reported religiosity had strong negative correlations with depression and anxiety, it was uncorrelated with frequency of hijab. Thus, regardless of hijab frequency, religiosity appears to be a worthwhile variable for investigation as a potential buffer against psychological distress. Hierarchical linear regression analyses indicated that frequency of loose fitting clothing incrementally predicted psychological well-being above and beyond age, migrant status, religiosity, and hijab frequency. Future implications of these results are discussed in terms of culturally sensitive support for both hijabi and non-hijabi Muslim women living in the United States.