J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2020 Sep 24. doi: 10.1007/s40615-020-00863-y. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Southeast Michigan is home to the second largest Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) US population. There is increasing interest in understanding correlates of psychosocial outcomes and health behaviors in this growing population. One potentially important health correlate is ethnic identity (EI). This paper reports the development, validity, and initial correlates of a new measure of MENA identity named the MENA-IM.
METHODS: We used convenience sampling at locations frequented by individuals of MENA descent in southeast Michigan. We also measured EI centrality, religiosity, cultural mistrust, substance use, and health status to assess convergent and divergent validity. Exloratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis identified three subscales, which were valid for both Arab and Chaldean respondents and were named (1) MENA cultural affiliation, (2) MENA media use, and (3) multicultural affiliation. We also created and tested a 20-item, single-factor version.
RESULTS: We obtained data from 378 adults, 73% of whom identified as Arab and 27% as Chaldean. MENA-IM scores were higher among older, lower-educated, lower-income, non-US born, and Arabic-speaking respondents. Arab respondents reported significantly higher scores than Chaldeans. MENA-IM scores were positively associated with EI centrality and religiosity. Higher MENA-IM scores were found among those not reporting use of marijuana, alcohol, and opiates. Higher MENA-IM scores were also found among those without a self-reported history of heart disease and among those with better mental health status.
DISCUSSION: The MENA-IM has strong psychometric properties and demonstrated initial evidence of convergent and discriminant validity. In general, values on the measure were associated with better psychosocial and health status. How the measure performs with MENA populations outside of Michigan and how it may relate to other health outcomes merit investigation.