Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

First Advisor

Dr. Joyce T. Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. David E.W. Fenner

Third Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Elinor A. Scheirer

Department Chair

Dr. Kenneth T. Wilburn

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


The United States is becoming more diverse; numerous immigrants and refugees enter every year. Among the newer groups are those practicing the Muslim religion.

This qualitative research focused on the identity formation process of six adolescent female Muslim refugees from Afghanistan. Based on Erikson's paradigm of psycho-social development and Marcia's modifications to that theory, I used semi-structured interviews to understand how the participants negotiated their identities in the context of their families, the public school, and the community.

This cohort appeared to exist within a circumscribed Afghan community, retaining significant parts of their culture, traditions, and roles. The exception to that retention occurred in the Educational/Vocational Domain. Economic necessity impelled them to assume new roles and to plan for post-secondary education and vocations, for which they were inadequately prepared, and for which their parents could provide little guidance.

These young women needed assistance in educational and career planning and counseling programs to facilitate their entry into post-secondary education and to develop their job skills. It seems fair to generalize that this deficit exists for most foreign-born and limited-English students. Addressing this deficit is a daunting, but important, task for the educational system and for resettlement programs.