Bullying cultivates insecurity and fear while generating attention for the perpetrator and degrading the student-victim in front of others. The act erodes the self-efficacy and identity of minority students more specifically and produces a hostile climate that undermines the learning and social development to all affected. Despite the pervasive negative consequences of bullying, research on this topic is largely absent in the counseling literature. In the current study, the prevalence of coercive acts such as physical, verbal, and electronic bullying among diverse Muslim-American students in U.S. public schools were statistically compared to the 2013 average national rate. The research project also sought to assess the relationship between comfort level in discussing religious identity and key demographic variables of race/ethnicity, gender, and age.
The first manuscript in this dissertation employed one sample z-test for proportion to ascertain the incidence rate of in-person and in-direct bullying among Muslim students (p > .05). The analysis employed an extant database with de-identified data on Muslim youth bullying experiences from the Council on American and Islamic relations (CAIR). The archive collected data of 471 records from students whose ages ranged from 11 to 18. The results showed that high school students experienced bullying at a rate of 53%, which demonstrated statistical significance when compared to the 20% national rate of bullying. Another finding showed a prevalence rate in victimization at approximately 49% among Muslim youth in middle school. The preceding finding showed no statistical difference when compared to the national rate proportion. Finally, the percentage of students who reported experiencing cyberbullying stood at 13% for middle school students and 28% for high school students verifying statistically significant results in comparison to the average national rates in electronic bullying, which presents a mean prevalence rate at 23% and 15% for the intermediate and secondary levels respectively. The lack of experience in Internet usage among newcomers is one predictor to the significantly lower percentage rate of cyberbullying among middle school students.
The second study examined the predictive relationship between demographic variables of race/ethnicity, gender, age, and twelve ethnic categories and Muslim students’ comfort in discussing Islam inside and outside of the classroom. The study employed multiple regression and ANOVA analyses to predict a relationship (p > .05). Data were obtained from the Council on American Islamic Relations’ Muslim Youth School Survey (MYSS). The database examined 467 participants with male = 39% and female = 61% in grades 5-12 as demographics. The results revealed that the key demographic variables do not serve as predictors for comfort when discussing Islam.
The findings from this research suggests the need for efforts directed toward developing culturally appropriate counseling interventions, school policies, and staff training on the issues of bullying against Muslim-American students.
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