"I love the freedoms here, but i still miss home": Muslim women's perceptions of how social contact optimized wellbeing and personal commitments to faith

Andrew S. Walters, Sara F. Mouhktar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) design was used to explore the experiences of Muslim women moving to the United States from countries where either Islam is a dominant religion or Muslims comprise a majority of the population. Participants completed established scales measuring both psychosocial adjustment and various dimensions of spirituality. In addition, participants completed a biographic interview which assessed women's sentiments about moving to the United States, their perceptions of treatment in traveling to or once arrived in the U.S., and how newly formed relationships were perceived to have affected participants' intrapersonal, social, and spiritual experience. The contact hypothesis (Allport, 1954) guided the development of biographic interview questions. Participants scored similarly to population-based samples on indices of psychosocial adjustment and they reported high scores on measures assessing spiritual beliefs, strength of faith, and the Reflective Commitment subscale of the Islamic Reflections Scale. Three distinct themes emerged from interpretive analyses following in-depth interviews: 1) participants were aware of media-projected antipathy toward Muslims emerging from inflammatory rhetoric ensconced by political posturing; 2) the reception women received from the majority of American neighbors, friends, and coworkers was very positive; and 3) relationships formed with other Muslims - importantly, persons who also immigrated from other Muslim-majority countries - provided opportunities for personal reflection on the differences across cultural interpretations and practices of faith.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Muslim Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Contact hypothesis
  • Islamic reflection
  • Muslim-identifying women
  • Qualitative-quantitative mixed design
  • Reflective Commitment
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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