Jan. 25, 2013 by Lauren Rubenstein
Assistant Professor of Psychology Patricia Rodriguez Mosquera, together with Tasmiha Khan ’12 and post-doc Arielle Selya, recently published an article in Cognition & Emotion titled, “Coping with the 10th anniversary of 9/11: Muslim Americans’ sadness, fear, and anger.’
A decade after the events of Sept. 11, 2001—which prompted an increase in prejudice, discrimination and other forms of unfair treatment toward Muslim Americans—the researchers examined the emotions of Muslim Americans in the days preceding the 10-year anniversary. They found that the anniversary precipitated intense concerns with loss and discrimination, and feelings of fear, anger and, most intensely, sadness. They also measured three coping responses—rumination, avoidance of public places, and religious coping—and found that participants engaged in all three, but especially sought solace in religion. The researchers write: “…rumination and avoidance were psychologically as well as socially harmful for the participants. Yet, participants also tried to seek solace in their religion, with religious coping being the most frequent coping response. Religious coping involved engaging in solitary practices, like reading religious texts, or more socially oriented practices, like seeking guidance from a religious authority. Because of these communal practices, religious coping probably acted as a form of social support for the participants.”
In addition, the researchers found that specific emotions explained the different coping responses. That is, sadness accounted for the association between concern with loss and rumination; fear explained the association between concern with discrimination and avoidance; and anger accounted for the association between concern with discrimination and religious coping. This study’s examination of the mediating role of sadness, fear and anger in the relationship between psychological concerns and diverse coping responses is novel, and has important implications for future research on stigma.
The article can be read online here.