Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Fred Galloway, EdD, Chair; Leslie Boozer, EdD, JD, Member; Antonio Jimenez-Luque, PhD, Member


Islamophobia, Resilience, Ethnic-Racial Socialization, Muslim American, Students


The ongoing Islamophobic ideology in the United States has magnified discriminatory practices, exclusion, and increased violence toward Muslims (Esposito & Kalin, 2011; Trudo, 2021), and Islamophobia has further disadvantaged Muslim American adolescents through various forms of discrimination against them in schools. In fact, Muslim American students report the highest rate of discrimination across all religious groups, and researchers have found that active family ethnic-racial socialization can often mitigate the negative impacts of discrimination (Hughes et al., 2006; Hughly et al., 2019).

To test this hypothesis, this study was designed to focus on Muslim families’ ethnic-racial socialization practices and the implications on their children’s adjustment to school-based Islamophobia. It further aimed to understand the extent of perceived religious discrimination reported by students. This was accomplished using an explanatory sequential mixed-methods design that used surveys, regression analysis, and focus groups. In the quantitative phase, three survey instruments were administered to 235 participants between 11 and 18 years of age. Results revealed that Muslim students exhibited significant resilience, regardless of being subjected to overt and covert forms of Islamophobia. However, female students demonstrated a lower level of resilience as compared to their male counterparts. Furthermore, findings indicated that spirituality, cultural socialization, and egalitarianism played an important role in the resilience of Muslim students.

The qualitative phase involved two focus groups of 17 Muslim Arab American students and six key themes were identified: (a) the unjust educational content in U.S. schools hinders students’ voices and perspectives, leading to occurrences of discrimination; (b) genetic factors and parenting approaches focused on protection diminished the resilience of female students; (c) Muslim parents were actively involved in transmitting cultural and egalitarian knowledge, spiritual messages, and sometimes moral socialization; (d) Muslim parents involved in social justice matters, and those who experienced discrimination in schools, actively educated their children about Islamophobia; (e) Muslim parents often encouraged their children to form friendships with students from diverse backgrounds; and (f) social media was essential for creating a sense of safety, belonging, and freedom of expression for Muslim students. Taken together, the results of this explanatory sequential mixed-methods design may provide educators, parents, and students with the knowledge and strategies needed to help combat the scourge of Islamophobia.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies