Adolescent Stress Trajectories in Arab Muslim Immigrant Families

Thursday, 2 August 2012: 3:55 PM

Karen Aroian, RN, PhD, FAAN1
Thomas Templin, PhD2
Edythe Hough, EdD2
(1)Office of Research, College of Nursing, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
(2)College of Nursing, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

Learning Objective 1: Describe the most stressful daily hassles (parent, peer, school, neighborhood, resource) during early, middle, and later adolescence for Arab Muslim immigrant youth in Euro-American countries.

Learning Objective 2: Identify how to time and target interventions to minimize stress and improve psychological outcomes in Arab Muslim immigrant youth in Euro-American countries.


Despite research findings that indicate that adolescent daily hassles are ubiquitous and relevant to adolescent functioning, little is known about how daily hassles vary over the course of adolescence. Variability is important because daily hassles affect functioning through repetitive or sustained effects. Even less is known about daily hassles in Arab Muslim adolescents in immigrant families. This longitudinal study investigated which daily hassles (parent, peer, school, neighborhood, resource) were perceived by Arab Muslim American adolescents in immigrant families as most stressful and how these stress perceptions changed at three time points during early, middle, and later adolescence. 


A sample of 454 Arab Muslim adolescents from immigrant families in the U.S. provided data via home face-to-face interviews at three time points over approximately three years. Mean age at each time point was 13.78, 15.33, and 16.62, respectively (1.18, pooled SD). Demographic data and data from the Adolescent Daily Hassles Scale (ADHS) were analyzed using multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA). The repeated measures due to time of testing made the design “doubly multivariate” and allowed analyzing linear and quadratic trends.


 Main effects of time, immigrant status (refugee, non refugee), and father’s employment, but not child’s gender, were statistically significant. School hassles, followed by Parent hassles, were much greater than other hassles at all three time points. School and Parent hassles increased while Peer and Resource hassles decreased over the study interval. Adolescents with refugee parents reported greater School and Neighborhood hassles and fewer Parent hassles than adolescents with non refugee parents. Adolescents with unemployed fathers reported significantly more School and Neighborhood hassles.


The findings provide specificity for differentially targeting type of hassles in adolescents with refugee and non refugee parents and adolescents with unemployed fathers to minimize stress and improve psychological outcomes for Arab Muslim youth in immigrant families.