Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology

Department

Professional Psychology and Family Therapy

Advisor

Pamela Foley, Ph.D

Committee Member

John Smith, Ed.D

Committee Member

Ben Beitin, Ph.D

Committee Member

Cheryl Thompson-Sard, Ph.D

Committee Member

Margaret Brady-Amoon, PH.D

Keywords

Arab America, Christian, Acculturation, Depression, First Generation, Multiculturalism

Abstract

Contrary to the common belief that most Arab Americans are Muslim, 77% of Arab Americans are Christian (Awad, 2010). There is no research that addresses the unique experience of Christian Arab Americans with the process of acculturating to the larger American society while maintaining the values of their ethnic group. The purpose of this study is to measure levels of acculturation with its two factors; ethnic society immersion and dominant society immersion, and depression with its two factors; cognitive-affective and somatic-vegetative and examine the relationships between them. In the current study, 101 Christian Arab American participants (ages 18 and above) completed three questionnaires; The Demographic Questionnaire, The Stephenson Multigroup Acculturation Scale (SMAS; Stephenson, 2000), and The Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II; Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979). Results indicated that there was no significant relationship between the two acculturation subscales and the total depression score. Also, there was a significant relationship between the two acculturation scales and the cognitive-affective symptoms of depression; higher levels of dominant society immersion were associated with lower levels of cognitive-affective symptoms of depression, and higher levels of ethnic society immersion were associated with higher levels of cognitive-affective symptoms of depression. Finally, there was no significant relationship between both acculturation scales and somatic-vegetative symptoms of depression. Clinical implications, limitations of the current study, and future directions for research are provided.

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