Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Sandra G. Zakowski, PhD

Second Advisor

Leah Horvath, PhD

Third Advisor

Mona M. Amer, PhD



The migration process is fraught with experiences of ethnic discrimination and has been linked to heightened levels of psychological and acculturative stress. Interestingly, earlier research revealed a higher prevalence of insecure attachment in migrant compared to non-migrant populations. Attachment style may be influenced by sociocultural and sociopolitical forces and the associated prejudice and discrimination experienced by a particular migrant population. The current study was conducted to explore whether higher levels of sociocultural adversity were associated with increased psychological distress and attachment insecurity and to test attachment as a mediator between sociocultural adversity and psychological distress. Using a cross-sectional design, a survey was conducted with 93 foreign-born adult Arabs who immigrated to the United States or Canada between the age of 5 and 17. Results showed ethnic discrimination and acculturative stress to be predictors of psychological distress. The study revealed ethnic discrimination and acculturative stress to be predictors of insecure attachment orientation and insecure attachment to be a predictor of psychological distress. Furthermore, a mediation model revealed that attachment orientation mediates the relationship between acculturative stress and psychological distress. This research fills a gap in the existing literature and provides clinicians with a rationale for screening for attachment style when working with the Arab immigrant population in the United States and Canada.



This research is dedicated to every Arab born to the diaspora trying to find their way home