Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations


Arab Americans Unveil the Building Blocks in the Construction of Our Cultural Identity

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Julie Burke (Advisor)


This research focused on individuals of Arab ancestry residing in the U.S. and examined various factors that might influence their cultural identity. The research examined the effects of religion, nationality, and gender on participants’ maintenance of Arab cultural identity, attitude toward the original and host cultures, in- and out-group socialization, and perceived discrimination. It also examined the effects of religion, nationality (Arab country of origin), gender, immigration generation, perceived discrimination, and sojourner status on acculturation mode. It also looked at the effect of religion and national origin on ethnogamy and self-identification. Finally, the research examined the relationship of self-identification, gender, in- and out-group socializing, and perceptions of the importance of events happening in Arab countries in the Middle East. Using snowball sampling, I recruited 304 participants. Data were collected from participants living in 13 states with origins from 10 Arab countries. The participants were provided with self-administered questionnaires with closed-ended questions. This study found that the participants’ Arab country of origin affected single participants’ ethnogamy; it also affected on in-group socializing and attitude toward the host culture. In addition, nationality and religion had significant effects on participants’ attitude toward Arab country of origin and perceived discrimination by the host culture. Religion and American city of residence had an impact on self-identification. The results also showed that participants’ American city of residence had significant effects on self-identifications and the perceived importance of events happening in Arab countries in the Middle East. In addition, immigration generation and sojourner status affected acculturation modes. Gender did not have any significant effects. The results of this study showed among other things that the major acculturation modes of Arab Americans in this sample were integration and assimilation and the majority of respondents selected the hyphenated identity Arab-American.