American Sociological Association

Does Religion Buffer the Effects of Discrimination on Distress for Religious Minorities? The Case of Arab Americans

Religiosity is well documented as a coping resource that protects against the effects of discrimination on distress, but little is known about the utility of religious minorities’ religiosity. This study investigates if religious resources buffer the effect of discrimination on distress for Arab Americans and if that relationship differs based on religious minority status. Following the contours of the stress process model, I leverage data from the 2003 Detroit Arab American Survey (DAAS; N = 977) to test the relationship between distress, discrimination, and three measures of religiosity: frequency of religious service attendance, God salience, and salient religious practices. The results indicate that for the overall sample, only salient religious practices buffered discrimination. However, when religious affiliation was taken into account, the results indicate that both God salience and salient religious practices significantly buffer discrimination for Muslim respondents only. I conclude with theoretical contributions, study limitations, and future research avenues.

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Sarah Shah





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