African American racial identity across the lifespan: Identity status, identity content, and depressive symptoms

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Cluster analytic methods were used to create 4 theorized ethnic identity statuses (achieved, foreclosed, moratorium, and diffused) among 940 African American adolescents (13 – 17 years old), college students (18 – 23 years old), and adults (27 – 78 years old). Evidence for the existence of 4 identity statuses was found across the 3 age groups. The distribution of individuals differed by age group, with the older participants disproportionately occupying the more mature statuses. Identity status was related to identity content such that achieved individuals reported higher levels of racial centrality and private regard. Finally, there was a significant interaction between developmental age group and identity status for depressive symptoms such that diffused college students reported higher symptoms than achieved college students. No status differences were found for the other 2 age groups.

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