Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Gary H. Bischof, Ph.D.
Edward Brooks Applegate, Ph.D.
Glinda Rawls, Ph.D.
African American Muslims, attitudes, intersectional identities, mental health, race, religion
African American Muslims have overlapping and interconnected identities of race and religion that can be conceptualized by the intersectionality framework to understand the complexities of barriers they face when seeking mental health services. African American Muslims have a higher risk of mental health issues due to systemic racism, racial discrimination, racial trauma, and Islamophobic discrimination. Yet, there is a lack of scholarly research or studies that focus explicitly on African American Muslims' specific mental health needs, barriers, and attitudes related to seeking mental health treatment.
This study sought to fill the gap in knowledge about attitudes toward seeking mental health services of African American Muslims. The purpose of the study was to understand the relationships among the intersectional identities of race and religion of African American Muslims on their attitudes toward seeking mental health services. Four hundred and forty-two participants from across the U.S. who identified as African American Muslims between the ages of 18 to 92 completed an online survey. Religious identity was measured by the Multi-Religion Identity Measure (Abu-Rayya, Abu-Rayya, & Khalil, 2009) and racial identity through the racial centrality subscale of the Multidimensional Inventory of the Black Identity (Sellers, Rowley, Chavous, Shelton & Smith, 1997). The Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help - Short form (Fischer & Farina, 1995) was used to measure this construct.
Primary hypotheses were tested by conducting linear and multiple regression analyses. Contrary to expectations, results indicate that racial and religious identity each positively and significantly predicted attitudes toward seeking mental health services among African American Muslims. Thus, higher levels of religious identity and racial identity predicted more positive attitudes toward seeking professional mental health care. Exploratory analyses were conducted using mediation and moderation analyses to understand the relationship among the variables. Results of the mediation analyses revealed that religious identity partially mediated the relationship between racial identity and attitudes toward seeking professional mental health services. Similarly, racial identity partially mediated the relationship between religious identity and attitudes toward seeking professional mental health services. Results of the moderation analyses revealed a negative and significant moderating effect of the interaction between religious identity and racial identity in predicting attitudes toward seeking professional mental health services. In other words, at the lowest levels of religious identity, there is a considerably stronger relationship between racial identity and attitudes toward seeking professional mental health services, which decrease in magnitude as religious identity increases. Limitations of the study included common method variance, the need for valid and reliable measures, and the lack of data validation protocols. Implications for counselors and counselor educators are addressed, and future research recommendations are discussed.
Dhanaraj, Cheruba A., "Intersectional Identities of Race and Religion of African American Muslims and Their Attitudes Toward Seeking Mental Health Services" (2022). Dissertations. 3907.