Examining the Differences in Mental Health Distress Coping Mechanisms between Male and Female Muslim Young Adults in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area: An Exploratory Study
Author ORCID Identifier
Date of Award
Master of Public Health (MPH)
Dr. Therese Deocampo Pigott
Dr. Karen Nielsen
Mental health disorders among young adults have become more prevalent in the United States and research has highlighted consistent gender differences. It is important to further analyze these sex differences as they relate to the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders. One factor that impacts mental health is religious background. One religion that caters to the psychological needs differently of men and women in Islam. The Muslim population’s experience with mental health may be impacted by their religious practices. This research presents a unique opportunity to analyze the gap in the literature regarding mental health among young adult Muslims living in the U.S. and to gauge how to approach mental health disorders more effectively in this group.
To examine whether there are any significant sex differences in coping mechanisms for mental health distress and self-reported mental health status as well as whether religion may serve as a protective factor for mental health among Muslim young adults living in Atlanta, GA.
Methods and Analysis:
This is an exploratory study. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected from participants using an online survey tool called ‘Qualtrics’. Participants had to identify as Muslim, living in the Metropolitan Atlanta area, and between 18-25 years old. A combination of chi-square analyses and logistic regressions were conducted to determine whether coping mechanisms and mental health status are dependent on sex and whether Islam is related to positive mental health. All analyses were conducted using SAS 9.4.
There was no significant relationship between any of the coping mechanisms and sex nor any significant relationship between sex and mental health status. However, there was a significant relationship between using a therapist and mental health status [p=0.0116] controlling for sex.
Although significant sex differences were not seen in this study, emerging patterns were notable. Sex differences should be further explored in future studies studying the young adult Muslim population in the United States. Additional coping mechanisms should be included in these studies as well as a larger sample that spans all age groups for comparative analysis. More qualitative data, perhaps using focus groups or interviews, may help to understand individual differences when it comes to coping with mental health, and how Muslims view Islam’s role on their mental health. The end goal would be for mosques and religious leaders to learn how to effectively tackle mental health illnesses in their communities and create safe spaces at the mosque.
Muhammad, Aruba B., "Examining the Differences in Mental Health Distress Coping Mechanisms between Male and Female Muslim Young Adults in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area: An Exploratory Study." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2023.
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