Arab Muslim women's experiences of living in the United States: A qualitative descriptive study

Maissa Khatib, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Background: Over three million Arab Muslims live in the United States, and more than half are women (Nasser-McMillan, 2003). Little is known about these women in the growing and diverse Arab American Muslim population, and there is limited information available regarding their experiences of living in the U.S. Their experiences influence multiple aspects of their lives, including functioning in mainstream culture, use of resources or agencies, and the decisions they make that shape their acculturation outcome. ^ Purpose: To describe the experiences of Arab Muslim immigrant women living in the U.S. ^ Methods: This qualitative study examined the shared experiences of immigrant Arab Muslim women in the U.S. In-depth, semi-structured interviews lasting 1-2 hours with Arab Muslim immigrant women were conducted. Data analysis was iterative, beginning with data collection and continuing through the entire analysis period. Data rigor was established through a clear audit trail and debriefing sessions with other qualitative researchers. ^ Findings: Fifteen Arab Muslim women were interviewed. Themes were identified through qualitative thematic data analysis and categorized into the following main areas: (1) Coping and embracing the good, (2) Hybrid positionality, (3) Safety through invisibility, (4) Spiritual growth and family bonding, and (5) Fear of the unknown future. The main themes were viewed through the lens of John Berry's acculturation model and social cognitive theory. ^ Conclusion: Qualitative descriptions of Arab Muslim immigrant women living in the United States reflect influences that affect functioning in the mainstream culture, use of resources or agencies, and decisions they make that shape their acculturation outcomes. If these influences are not explored and recognized, they may interfere with adjustment to living in the U.S.^

Subject Area

Anthropology, Cultural|History, Middle Eastern|Women's Studies|Health Sciences, General|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Khatib, Maissa, "Arab Muslim women's experiences of living in the United States: A qualitative descriptive study" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3609493.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3609493

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