Does Religion Moderate the Association between Discrimination and Happiness among U.S Muslim

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A growing body of literature links religious factors with mental health and subjective well-being. Many studies in this area have drawn upon the stress process tradition, which focuses on the harmful effects of stressful events and conditions on mental health, and the mitigating role of resources (social, psychological, etc.) on this association. Although much has been learned from studies in this area, most of this work has centered on Judeo-Christian populations. Relatively studies have explored the association between religion and mental health among Muslims, and even fewer have focused on American Muslims, who constitute a relatively small (and primarily immigrant) religious minority within the U.S. Our study addresses this gap using data from a 2011 survey of American Muslims conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (n=1,057). Specifically, we examine the effects of discrimination experiences in the post-9/11 context on personal happiness, with particular attention to the role of religious practice (e.g., mosque attendance, frequency of salah [prayer]), religious belief and exclusivism, and Muslim network homogeneity as moderators of the deleterious impact of discrimination stress. All models will control for demographic characteristics, nativity status and acculturation. Results will be discussed in terms of (a) the religion-health literature, (b) the role of religion among immigrant and cultural minority communities, and (c) the evolving position of Islam within the contemporary U.S. context.

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