Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Tahirah Abdullah-Swain

Second Advisor

Karen L. Suyemoto

Third Advisor

Mona Abo-Zena


The estimated population of Muslims in the United States ranges from 3 to 7 million (Bukhari, 2003; Pew Research Center, 2017; Strumm, 2003), with an estimated 69-75% of Muslim Americans being 1st or 2nd generation immigrants (defined as those born abroad and those with immigrant parents, respectively), hailing from over 80 countries (Bukhari, 2003; Pew Research Center, 2017). Thus, most Muslims are navigating the complex processes of acculturation, which is the adaptation of behavioral, cognitive, and affective aspects of one’s cultural functioning, which result from consistent contact with different cultural contexts and groups (Driscoll & Wierzbicki, 2012). Research has noted how women in immigrant communities, and Muslim communities in particular, are often expected to serve as the preservers and conveyors of culture, tradition, and religion (al-Huraibi & Konradi, 2012; Ozyurt, 2010), while also being “agents of integration” or “bridge builders” between host country and country of origin cultures (Ozyurt, 2010, p. 296). Hence, the current study is a phenomenological qualitative study that investigated the lived experiences of 1.5 and 2nd generation Muslim American immigrant women in their negotiation of acculturative processes while holding multiple intersecting identities. The study employed open-ended individual interviews with 12 women. The findings showed four main themes that indicate negotiating cultures, identities, experiencing pervasive otherness and marginalization, and experience of Muslim American women of immigrant descent as they navigate acculturation at the intersection of two cultures, a minoritized and vilified religion, and womanhood. The study expands the acculturation literature and literature on Muslim American women of immigrant descent broadly, providing us with knowledge around acculturation within this population, as well as clinical considerations.