Hyphenated selves: Muslim Aamerican youth negotiating identities on the fault lines of global conflict

Selcuk R. Sirin, Michelle Fine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the wake of the events of September 11, Muslim-American youth found that the multiple cultures within which they live were suddenly and alarmingly in conflict. The developmental consequences of living in a world fractured by religious and ethnic terror have yet to be determined for Muslim youth in the United States. This exploratory, mixed-method study begins to examine how Muslim youth negotiate their identities in these challenging times. Documented in the surveys, narrated in the interviews, and drawn into their identity maps, Muslim-American youth (n = 70) ages 12 to 18, vividly portrayed their interior lives as a dialectic labor of psychological reconciliation - piecing together what we call hyphenated selves. The results show that Muslim youth experience discrimination, sometimes to an extreme degree. We observed diversity in how youth deal with the challenges of growing up Muslim in post 9/11 US, ranging from "elling nobody" to policing each other within the Muslim community. In addition we found that males and females negotiate their Muslim and American identities in different ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Developmental Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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