This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Social Aspects of Religiosity & Discrimination in the Latinx Community: A Qualitative Study in the Deep South




Martinez, Melisa

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


The purpose of this study was to explore how Latinx individuals use social aspects of religiosity and how they may or may not be used to buffer negative effects of discrimination. Research supports that discrimination has detrimental effects on individuals who experience it. Thus, it is important to understand how an individual can effectively cope when experiencing discrimination. Religious coping and social support seem to be positive coping strategies for individuals who experience discrimination, particularly Latinx individuals. Because of this, I examined how social aspects of religiosity can help these individuals. This study was qualitative in nature and carried out in the form of individual interviews, to better understand the unique experiences in this community. Participants (N=7) were asked questions about their religious and spiritual practices within and outside their faith community. Also, participants were asked about their experiences living in a non-urban part of the country and how they relate to their community. A qualitative framework was used to carry out this study. A phenomenological methodology approach was used to guide data collection and analysis. The results are a culmination of seven distinct Latinx voices from a Catholic church community, sharing deep perspectives of their lives. Final findings support the idea that although Latinx individuals experience discrimination, they have a relatively positive outlook of their lives in large part due to their sense of belonging and community provided by their faith and social aspects of religiosity.