A Systematic Review of Ethnic-Racial Identity and Acculturation as Buffers against Discrimination among Muslim Immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa in the United States



Shawkat, Reem

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In much of the literature on identity development, there is a strong emphasis on the process of exploration and commitment, ultimately leading to attaining a stage of identity achievement. Little is known about these processes among MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) emerging adults (ages 18-25) and, specifically, how stigma and negative public regard influence their desire to engage in ethnic-racial identity (ERI) exploration processes. Although immigrants from MENA countries might encounter stigma and discrimination associated with their culture and religion, research has shown that each of ERI exploration and resolution has promotive and protective effects on psychological adjustment of diverse youth (e.g., Umaña-Taylor, 2016; Yip, 2018; Yip et al., 2019). This study seeks to (1) examine the promotive and protective roles of ERI and acculturation against the adverse effects of discrimination on psychological adjustment and (2) consider group differences as a function of region, age, gender, and generational status. These research questions were examined using the systematic review and reporting guidelines providing by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta- Analyses (PRISMA; Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff, Altman, & The PRISMA Group, 2009). Results revealed significant effect for both promotive and protective role of ERI and the protective role of acculturation. Additionally, this study found a scarcity of information regarding group differences as a function of geographic region, age, gender, and generational status. In sum, this review highlights the continued need for studies focusing on Muslim-MENA youth to better understand the normative development of ERI, acculturation processes, and their role in psychological adaptation. Once these processes are further investigated, future studies can begin to examine how to promote positive development in the Muslim-MENA community.



Acculturation, Muslim, Wellbeing, Immigrants, Middle Eastern and North African (MENA), Ethnic-racial identity (ERI)