Domestic violence in urban American Muslim women


Ali, Basmaa; Ahsan, Mohammed; Ahmed, Nahida; Leff, H Stephen; Chow, Clifton; & Khatab, Yacoub (2022). Domestic violence in urban American Muslim women. Journal of Muslim mental health. vol. 16 (1)


Muslims constitute about one percent of the U.S. population. Ten percent of U.S. media stories on domestic violence (DV) focus on American Muslims, implying a higher-than-average rate of DV in the American Muslim community. Our study estimates the prevalence of DV among Muslim women in greater Boston and compares it to DV rates among American women as a whole. The study also examines the effect of education, income, and employment status on DV in both samples in comparison with each other. We anonymously surveyed 332 American Muslim women over the age of 18 at five mosques in the greater Boston area and found the DV rate among our study participants to be comparable with that among American women in general. We used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (AddHealth) as a surrogate for the U.S. as a whole. Our study participants experienced less intimate partner violence and more aggression from parents and siblings than the women in AddHealth. Also, rising socioeconomic and employment status were not buffers against DV in our study as they were for the AddHealth participants. Ethnicity or country of birth had no impact on DV risk among the women in our study. These results are important because they counter the bias in U.S. media that implies DV is more prevalent among American Muslims than in the U.S. population at large. Our data also suggests measures to ameliorate DV in American Muslims need to target the whole family (i.e., parents and children of both genders).



domestic violence

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Journal Article

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Journal of Muslim mental health


Ali, Basmaa
Ahsan, Mohammed
Ahmed, Nahida
Leff, H Stephen
Chow, Clifton
Khatab, Yacoub

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