Islamic religiosity and subjective well-being in the west: meta-analytic evidence of protections across diverse Muslim diasporas

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Journal of REligion & Spirituality in Social Work


gender, Islam, mental health, Muslims, meta-analysis, religiosity, well-being


Contemporary diasporas have brought many Muslims to the
predominantly Judeo-Christian West. These have been attended
by prevalent mistrust, stigmatization and, discrimination, espe-
cially against Muslim women, many of whom are visibly identifi-
able by their hijabs. Such factors pose clear risks to their mental
health and well-being. Protective religiosity-subjective well-
being associations are well known among Christians and Jews,
but not among Muslims in the West. This meta-analytic review
of 21 surveys found a significant association between religiosity
and well-being among an aggregate sample of 7,145 Muslims;
r = 0.20, p < .05. Two-thirds of religious Muslims scored higher
on measures of well-being than nonreligious Muslims, and such
protections were greater among Muslim women than men; χ2
(1) = 4.37, p < .05. Islamic religiosity seems to bolster subjective
well-being among Muslims in the West. Social workers and
allied practitioners ought to incorporate religious beliefs and
practices as life space resources in working with Muslims as we
work to eradicate Islamic discrimination from Western social