Date of Award

Summer 8-10-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Health Sciences


Health and Medical Sciences


Deborah DeLuca, J.D.

Committee Member

Terrence Cahill, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Fortunato Battaglia, Ph.D.


Arab Americans, mental health, acculturation, 9/11, stigma, bias, discrimination



Between Two Worlds: Acculturation Impact on the

Mental Health Status of Arab Americans


Seton Hall University, 2020

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Deborah DeLuca, M.S., J.D.

Background and Purpose of the Study: Arabs come from over 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Many of those countries either have an ongoing war, battle with terrorism, or political turmoil that may have resulted in mental health issues for Arabs migrating to America. Arab Americans continue to migrate to the U.S. Arab Americans have been experiencing stress due to the discrimination they face post 9/11, their acculturation method, cultural difference, pre-migration mental health conditions, and the Arab culture that discourages seeking mental health support from outside the family. The problems are Arab Americans’ perception of mental health in general and available professional mental health services, professional mental health providers’ knowledge of the Arab culture concerning mental health, and the relationship between Arab American attitudes towards mental health services and mental health issues. In addition, an increasing percentage of Arab Americans are second-generation, born in the U.S., and there is limited research to understand whether there are differences between the first and second-generations related to the way they perceive and seek professional mental health services.

Methods: This study utilized an exploratory, descriptive, and correlational design to understand: a) major factors involving the attitudes of Arab American populations toward seeking professional mental health services b) how first and second-generation Arab Americans seek and perceive professional mental health services.

Results: Reliability for the Attitudes Toward Seeking Formal Mental Health Services (ATSFMHS) instrument was good (Cronbach’s Alpha α = 0.711), and the reliability of the Knowledge and Familiarity with Formal Mental Health Services (KFFMHS) instrument was excellent (Cronbach’s Alpha α = 0.927).

Conclusion: This study added to the limited studies related to Arab Americans and mental health issues. There is a difference between the way first and second-generation Arab Americans perceive and seek professional mental health services. The study addressed the importance of educating mental health professionals about the Arab culture and how each generation perceive and seek mental health services. There is a correlation between the acculturation method and the development of mental health issues among Arab Americans. There were essential factors/differences behind first and second-generation Arab Americans’ attitudes towards seeking professional mental health services, cultural beliefs, and other influences that governed their actions/attitudes. More research is imperative in other geographical areas with a large Arab population.

Keywords: Arab Americans, mental health, acculturation, 9/11, stigma, bias, discrimination