Identity, acculturation, and adjustment of high school Muslim students in Islamic schools in the U.S.A.
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The United States evolved to become a mosaic of communities, the mainstream American and the minorities. These minorities live by the cultural preferences of both communities. The American Muslims are no exception. Not only do they attempt to live by the standards of both American and Islamic cultures, but they also strive to raise their youngsters to follow their model. Relevant to this dynamic are issues of identity, acculturation, and adjustment. Islamic identity is crucial for the self-perception of young Muslims. Acculturation illustrates how young Muslims relate themselves to the mainstream American community. Personal adjustment is always sought, especially while pursuing to achieve Islamic identity and acculturation. Therefore, the literature concerning these three concepts was reviewed. This dissertation investigated the interrelationships between Islamic identity, acculturation, and adjustment for adolescent Muslims. It included 167 Muslim children from Islamic schools in Chicago suburb communities; representing both genders, the upper grade levels in high schools (10th, 11th, and 12th), three family origins (Arabs, South and East Asians, and Others), and mostly the first two generations in the U.S. Four measures were used in this study. The MEIM-Muslims offered an attitudinal measurement of Islamic identity. A new scale, CBMII, was constructed to provide a measurement of Islamic knowledge and practice. ARSAM modeled existing measures of acculturation. The BASC’s Self-Report of Personality provided a measurement of personal adjustment. The findings included the following important results. Firstly, Islamic identity correlated positively with Islamic Knowledge, Islamic Practice, and Personal Adjustment but it correlated negatively with acculturation. Secondly, a factor analysis of MEIM-Muslims and CBMII subscales yielded three underlying factors of Islamic identity (attitudes towards Muslims and Islam, Islamic knowledge, and Islamic practice of appearance.) Thirdly, Muslim girls scored significantly higher than boys on Islamic Knowledge scale. Fourthly, “Arabs” and “South and East Asians” were less acculturated than students from “Others” family origins. Fifthly, the increase in Islamic knowledge and practice was associated, but not strongly, with the increase in the number of years attended in Islamic schools. Lastly, as the number of years attended in public schools increased, Islamic knowledge and practice scores decreased but acculturation and adjustment increased; however, these associations were not strong.