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Title: Seeing is Believing: The Impact of Negative Media about Muslims on Muslim Women’s Psychological Well-being and Prospective Perceived Discrimination
Authors: Siddique, Nitasha
Advisors: Shelton, Nicole
Department: Psychology
Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program
Class Year: 2018
Abstract: Extensive research has shown that the availability and emotional impact of mass media content can skew our perceptions of reality and attitudes towards certain populations. Media representations are often biased towards negative stereotypes of minority groups that fuel prejudice and discrimination. This in turn contributes to poorer mental health outcomes. This is especially the case for Muslims in the West who have been exposed to persistent tropes of Muslims as terrorists and Muslim women as oppressed because of their religious garb since 9/11. The following studies explored the relationship between exposure to negative media content about Muslims and Muslim American women’s levels of psychological distress and predictions of future discrimination. Past discrimination, group identification, and visibility as a Muslim were considered as moderators. Different media framings were also explored. Study 1 shows significant correlations between negative media exposure and greater psychological distress and prospective perceived discrimination. Past experiences with discrimination exacerbate these associations while visibility as a Muslim seems to weaken the association between negative media on Muslims and prospective perceived discrimination. Study 2 tested the effect of reading a negative article about Muslims on Muslim women’s psychological distress and prospective perceived discrimination in comparison to control articles. Group identification has an exacerbating effect on perceived risk for discrimination after reading the negative article on Muslims and marginally significant results imply possible effects of visibility as a Muslim on psychological distress. Limitations and future directions for research are discussed as well as clinical recommendations for tailoring psychotherapy to Muslim clients.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2022
Global Health and Health Policy Program, 2017-2022

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