Gendered Islamophobia, Religiosity, and Well-being: Exploring Muslim Hijabi Women’s College Experiences

Amira Nahshal, Fordham University


Given that approximately 26% of Muslim Americans attend college, it is crucial to identify trends that could impact their well-being in academic settings. Despite the numerous studies exploring the effects of religious discrimination on Muslim Americans, limited research exists on their experiences in college. Similarly, there is a lack of literature on the experiences of Muslim women in academic settings. The purpose of this study was to investigate Muslim hijabi women’s experiences regarding Islamophobia, religiosity, well-being, and microaggressions in college. Using a phenomenological approach, fifteen Muslim hijabi women in the United States participated in this study. The study revealed ten overarching themes with several subthemes: (1) childhood experiences of growing up Muslim in the U.S., (2) levels of religiosity and what it means to be religious, (3) identity negotiations, (4) the meaning of the hijab, (5) friendships with other Muslim hijabi women, (6) feeling the need to conform to certain behaviors, (7) experiences of religious microaggressions, (8) effects of microaggressions and Islamophobia, (9) coping with microaggressions, and (10) the ability to process past experiences. This study provides recommendations regarding counseling and multicultural competency for school-based personnel and mental health professionals.

Subject Area

Psychology|Religion|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Nahshal, Amira, "Gendered Islamophobia, Religiosity, and Well-being: Exploring Muslim Hijabi Women’s College Experiences" (2024). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30811688.