Zainab completed her Ed.M. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she took part in a research collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to evaluate available psychosocial and educational services for refugees in Iran. She subsequently earned an MSW from the University of Michigan, focusing her research and clinical work on delivering trauma-informed clinical services to refugees. She was a Child Welfare Scholar and was trained in assessments and treatments of children impacted by abuse and neglect. Zainab completed a post-MSW fellowship at the Boston Children's Hospital where she worked as a psychotherapist at the Division of Adolescent Medicine.

Upon joining the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Zainab began exploring the cultural adaptability of mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS) for refugees in different contexts. She has carried out multiple projects in different refugee settings in Iran, Lebanon, Greece, and Mexico to study how sociocultural contexts can influence what is considered adaptive developmental competencies in forcibly displaced children. Zainab engages in ongoing community-based participatory research projects to explore how MHPSS programs designed by international NGOs can take these nuances into account. Her current work focuses on building and evaluating a culturally responsive, trauma-informed, social emotional learning (SEL) program for refugee adolescents in Tijuana, MX. Zainab's research at the Stanford GSE has also included mixed-methods studies of ethnic and racial identity development, biculturalism, and psychological well-being among Native American adolescents.

Zainab is an MA candidate at the Stanford Department of Psychology, focusing her thesis on comparing how global SEL programs for diverse populations promote social and emotional competencies for children. Working closely with the Culture and Emotion Lab, she is especially interested in the extent to which these programs account for the heterogeneity in children's sociocultural backgrounds and experiences. She also leads the Refugee Mental Health team at the Department of Psychiatry Muslim Mental Health Lab, where she explores cultural concepts of distress among refugee adolescents.

Honors & Awards

  • Graduate Summer Fellowship for Community Engaged Research, Haas Center for Public Service (06/2020)
  • Graduate Public Service Fellowship, Haas Centerfor Public Service (09/2019)
  • Hub Foundation Scholarship, Hub Foundation (10/2019)
  • AERA Division E Seed Grant, American Educational Research Association (6/2021)

Stanford Advisors

Research Interests

  • Adolescence
  • Immigrants and Immigration
  • Parents and Family Issues
  • Psychology
  • Social and Emotional Learning

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

I focus on designing brief Social Emotional Learning interventions that can be implemented for use with children within emergency zones, e.g., war zones, refugee camps, etc. I use principles of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and trauma-informed teaching to build and evaluate programs for refugee children's prosocial and emotion regulation skills. I am particularly interested in building on parental capacities during refugee children's transitions throughout their migratory experiences.

All Publications

  • Effects of bicultural competence and racial identity on intrinsic motivation: The mediating role of belonging to Native American tribal colleges CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY LaFromboise, T., Rosales, O., Hosseini, Z. 2023; 74
  • Islam and Suicide: An Interdisciplinary Scoping Review SPIRITUALITY IN CLINICAL PRACTICE Awaad, R., Quadri, Y., Suleiman, K., Husain, A., Hosseini, Z., Rehman, O., Elzamzamy, K., Abdelrehim, A., Rushdi, R., Hill, T., Koenig, H. 2023; 10 (1): 32-51

    View details for DOI 10.1037/scp0000311

    View details for Web of Science ID 000970289700004

  • Predictors of depression among Syrian refugee women: A socio-culturally relevant analysis. The International journal of social psychiatry Hosseini, Z., Bakdash, T., Ahmad, S., Awaad, R. 2023: 207640231155810


    Syrian refugee women have faced myriad adversities as they have navigated the realities of war, increasing the risk for mental health concerns such as depressive symptomatology. This study explores the nuances of relevant sociocultural factors that can contribute to depressive symptomatology among widowed Syrian refugee women who live in an institutionalized care setting. We explored the impact of past trauma exposure, perceived independence, and a desire to leave the current place of displacement and the interplay between them.The PCRF Traumatic Events Questionnaire and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) were administered to 57 Syrian refugee women in Lebanon (Mage = 37; M number of children = 3) to measure levels of trauma exposure and depressive symptoms, respectively. Perceived independence and a desire to leave their current place of residence were measured using 1-item measures.Using hierarchical regression models, past trauma exposure (B = 1.51, p = .002) and perceived independence (B = 0.33, p = .04) significantly predicted depressive symptoms. A desire to travel (B = 0.84, p = .07) marginally predicted depressive symptoms. Past trauma exposure attenuated the impact of perceived independence on depressive symptoms such that at lower levels of past trauma exposure, higher perceptions of independence predicted higher depression (simple slope = 0.29, t = 2.13, p = .05), while at higher levels of past trauma higher perceptions of independence predicted lower depressive symptoms (simple slope = -0.16, t = -2.21, p = .04). Trauma exposure did not moderate the impact of a desire to leave on depression, but age did.These findings suggest that sociocultural factors may influence women's experiences with depressive symptoms differently, and this heterogeneity must be accounted for when treatment programs are proposed. Further, Syrian refugee women who have lost primary family members may pose different profiles of depressive symptoms than other groups of women.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/00207640231155810

    View details for PubMedID 36825623