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Contribution to Book

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Publication Title

Handbook of Arab American Psychology

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youth identity, Arab youth, Arab Americans, youth development


This chapter examines the process of youth development and the impact of socialization among Arab Americans. The distinctiveness of Arab Americans as an ethnic group stems from the fact that their visibility is intimately tied to events and political instabilities in the Arab world. This reality places them in a uniquely marginal position as “not quite White” (Samhan, 1999 ), yet not fully accepted as a legal minority (Cainkar, 2009 ). This wider societal experience provides an overarching context for the study of Arab American youth development within an ecological model. This chapter explores theoretical models for understanding youth identity development, and then reviews research fi ndings related to the ways in which family, peers/school, community, and media play a role in the identities of Arab American youth. This is followed by a case example to illustrate concepts and ideas introduced throughout the chapter. Finally, the chapter concludes with a critique of current research and suggests future directions for better understanding Arab American youth development.


This is an accepted manuscript version of a chapter was first published in the Handbook of Arab American Psychology, Edited by Mona M. Amer, Germine H. Awad. Copyright Routledge2016. It is available in its final form here: