Religiosity, Coping and Mental Health: Muslims and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Stanford Muslim Mental Health Lab in Collaboration with the Yaqeen Institute have conducted one of the first and largest studies focused on the diverser beliefs and practices of Muslims throughout different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.  From initial social isolation policies to anticipating and experiencing Ramadan without community, the effects of COVID-19 on Muslim mental health, coping behaviors, religiosity, and philanthropy varied widely amongst Muslims.  Through four large-scale surveys that captured the voices of nearly 9,000 Muslims at different stages of the pandemic, our findings explain the diverse opinions that Muslims have about COVID-19 theologically, their concerns about social distancing, attitudes toward closing the masjid during the pandemic, associations between psychological characteristics (e.g., gratitude and uncertainty intolerenace) and religiosity on mental health, the religious experience of Ramadan in social isolation, and the correlates of Muslim marriages in social isolation.  This talk will focus on core psychological and religious processes that permeate through the lives of Muslims to influence the way COVID-19 has been lived and experienced.

Rania Awaad, M.D. is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine where she is the Director of the Muslim Mental Health Lab, Associate Chair of the Division of Public Mental Health and Population Sciences, and Chief of the Diversity Section in the Stanford Department of Psychiatry.  She pursued her psychiatric residency training at Stanford where she also completed a postdoctoral clinical research fellowship with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  Her research and clinical work are focused on the mental health needs of Muslims.  Her courses at Stanford range from teaching a pioneering course on Islamic Psychology, instructing medical students and residents on implicit bias and integrating culture and religion into medical care to teaching undergraduate and graduate students the psychology of xenophobia.  Her most recent academic publications include and edited volume on "Islamophobia and Psychiatry" (Spring, 2019) and Applying Islamic Principles to Clinical Mental Health Care (Routledge, 2020).  She has also produced a toolkit, fact sheet, CME course, and is now editing a clinical textbook on Muslim mental health for the APA (American Psychiatric Association).  Through her outreach work at Stanford, she is also the Clinical Director of the San Francisco Bay Area branches of the Khalil Center, a spiritual wellness center pioneering the application of traditional Islamic spiritual healing methods to modern clinical psychology.  Prior to studying medicine, she pursued classical Islamic studies in Damascus, Syria and holds certifications (ijaza) in Qur'an, Islamic Law and other branches of the Islamic Sciences.  For nearly a decade, Dr. Awaad has also served as the first and only female Professor of Islamic Law at Zaytuna College.  Dr. Awaad is a nationally recognized speaker, award-winning teacher, researcher and author in both the Islamic and medical sciences.  Follow her on I/T: DrRaniaAwaad