PhD Thesis: “Muslim Populations in a Western Context: Lived Experience of Stigma and Marginalization”

Muslim Populations in a Western Context

PhD Thesis: “Muslim Populations in a Western Context: Lived Experience of Stigma and Marginalization”

Author: Jeni A. Groot-Begnaud

University: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Date of Award: February 1, 2022

Supervisors: Patricia H. A. Perez, Patricia Donovan, Laura A. Zimmerman


This research examined the lived experiences of Muslim populations in Western societies with a focus on stigma and marginalization. The objective was to gain insight on how the impact of stigma and marginalization may potentially influence an individual’s trajectory toward radicalization. Inquiry was accomplished through phenomenological reflection on data elicited through semi structured interviews focusing on the perceptions of Muslim individuals in Denver, Colorado regarding stigma and marginalization and the impact of those influences on psychological outcomes. Data analysis was conducted via methodology that maintained prioritization of participants’ voices, and results are presented primarily using their own words. The objective was to respect the contributions and perspectives of participants by developing a revelatory and cohesive narrative through an orderly but dynamic approach to best facilitate meaning-making by the reader. Results of data analysis yielded five overarching themes related to global trauma and foundational international psychology principles and reinforcing the relevance of that field. Those themes were nuanced existence, frustrating representation, complexity of interaction, vulnerability, and resilience factors. Numerous superordinate themes within participant narratives were also identified.


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