Current Research

A healthy marriage is associated with emotional, physical, and financial benefits for children and families. Marital dysfunction and divorce can negatively impact families and jeopardize psychological and physical health. Research demonstrates that relationship education and counseling can help couples improve their skills and decrease the risk factors for future marital distress and divorce. As divorce becomes more prevalent among American Muslims, it is increasingly important for families to understand how to build healthy marriages and minimize the risk of divorce as well as develop resources for positive development for individuals post-divorce.


Preparing for Marriage: Attitudes and Experiences of American Muslims

The Family and Youth Institute Researchers: Amal Killawi, MSW & PhD Candidate

How do American Muslims make the decision to marry? How do they prepare for marriage? Do they rely on advice marriage-research-sectionfrom family and friends, books and articles, and/or marriage education classes? Little is known about the marriage preparation attitudes and experiences of American Muslims. This study focuses on understanding how American Muslims decide to marry and how they prepare for marriage. It will also examine the role families, religious leaders, and counseling professionals play and offer recommendations to help American Muslim couples prepare more effectively for marriage.

 

Collaborators in this area of study include Elham Fathi, MA (Allameh Tabataba’i University ), Iman Dadras, MS, LAMFT (University of Minnesota), Arij Elmi, MSW, (University of Toronto), Hamada Hamid, DO, MPH (Yale University), Manijeh Daneshpour, PhD, LMFT (Alliant International University).

  • Killawi, A., Fathi, E., Dadras, I., Elmi, A., Hamid, H., and Daneshpour, M. (2016). Preparing for marriage: Attitudes and experiences of American Muslims.

Young Muslim Converts: Love, Sex, and Marriage

The Family and Youth Institute Researchers: Sameera Ahmed, PhD, Hanan Hashem, MA, Saara Patel, MSW, Amal Killawi, MSW & PhD Candidate.

A photo by Hugo Alfredo Aguilar Jr.. unsplash.com/photos/DzXlcVbqRFcA desire for intimacy and sexuality is a human need that many people typically explore during their adolescent and emerging adult years. However, how this desire and subsequent behavior intersects with profound life changes, such as religious conversion has yet to be adequately explored. This study examines how young Muslim converts navigate love, marriage, and their search for a partner, given the numerous challenges of conversion and integration into a new religious community. This study will highlight these experiences and provide recommendations on how to better support convert Muslims on their path to marriage.

Collaborators in this area of study include Cynthia Arfken, PhD (Wayne State University).

  • Patel, S., Hashem, H., Ahmed, S., and Arfken, C. (2016). Young Muslim converts: Sex, love, and marriage. Presented at the 8th Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference, March 18, 2016, Dearborn, MI.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Marriage Preparation Programs in the American Muslim Community

The Family and Youth Institute Researchers:  Amal Killawi, MSW & PhD Candidate

 
marriage-research-section1Research demonstrates that premarital education can help to reduce marital conflict and divorce. While empirical research exists on the effective components of marriage education, its application has not been extended to the American Muslim community. This study will evaluate religiously-based marriage preparation programs that are currently offered within the American Muslim community. Programs will be reviewed for their curriculum, integration of research-based content, and effectiveness in helping American Muslims prepare for marriage and establish healthy relationships.


The Help-Seeking Behaviors of American Muslims During Marital Conflict

The Family and Youth Institute Researchers: Amal Killawi, MSW & PhD Candidate

marriage-research-section3Every couple has disagreements in their marriage. How they handle their disagreements is what determines marital success.  So, how do American Muslim couples seek help when experiencing conflict in their marriage? Do they reach out to friends and family? Do they seek counseling from an imam, parent, and/or a mental health professional? This study will focus on exploring the help-seeking behaviors of American Muslims during times of marital conflict and examine the roles of families, religious leaders, and counseling professionals in resolving marital disputes.

 

Collaborators in this area of study include Elham Fathi, MA (Allameh Tabataba’i University), Iman Dadras, MS, LAMFT ( University of Minnesota), Arij Elmi, MSW, (University of Toronto), Hamada Hamid, DO, MPH (Yale University), Manijeh Daneshpour, PhD, LMFT (Alliant International University).


 

List of Publications on Marriage

Reports
Killawi, A., Daneshpour, M., Elmi, A., Dadras, I, Shamoon, Z. (2014). Promoting healthy marriages & preventing divorce in the American Muslim community. Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

Hashem, H., Ahmed, S., Patel, S., and Arfken, C. (2015). Young Muslim converts: Influence of race and gender on integration and connection. Presented at the 7th Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference, March 28, 2015, Dearborn, MI.