A Grounded Theory Examination of Racial Identity Experiences of Multiracial Latinx Adults

Caitlin Rose Ferrer, Fordham University


This qualitative dissertation study clarifies the content of racial identity development for multiracial Latinx adults who shared their lived experiences, as well as the underlying relationships that governed the relative influence of differing elements on each participant’s racial identity. There were four research questions: 1) How do adult multiracial Latinx individuals currently perceive themselves and their racial identity within wider societal contexts? 2) What are the lived experiences of individuals with mixed-Latinx backgrounds that have influenced their racial identity and its salience? 3) How has their racial identification changed throughout their life? 4) What do these individuals perceive as the relationship between racial identity, physical appearance, and other salient intersecting identities? Ten multiracial adults (aged 25 – 65) with partial Latinx heritage participated in semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Consistent with grounded theory, data was simultaneously collected, coded and analyzed until saturation was achieved. The results suggested that for these multiracial Latinx individuals their racial identity development process was nonlinear, heavily context dependent, and continuously evolving across the lifespan. Their racial identity was influenced by family members’ explicit and implicit communications about race and ethnicity. Physical appearance, other salient identities, and available peer groups also affected the individual’s relationship to their racial identity. Respondents attributed both challenges and social benefits to their multiracial heritage. These findings may be used to help practitioners provide more effective psychological and educational services to multiracial Latinx individuals. The study captures their experiences of being multiracial during a time of renewed conversation around race and helps to illustrate the social construction of race.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Latin American Studies|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Ferrer, Caitlin Rose, "A Grounded Theory Examination of Racial Identity Experiences of Multiracial Latinx Adults" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29399018.