Multiple social identities and adjustment in young adults from ethnically diverse backgrounds

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


A person-centered approach was used to determine how identification across multiple social domains (ethnic, American, family, religious) was associated with distinct identity clusters. Utilizing data from 222 young adults from European, Filipino, Latin, and Asian American backgrounds, four clusters were found (Many Social Identities, Blended/Low Religious, Blended/Low Ethnic and American, Few Social Identities). Clusters were differentially associated with adjustment, both directly and via moderation of perceived ethnic discrimination. Those with low levels of identity across all four domains reported lower positive affect, higher negative affect, lower self-esteem, and perceived fewer American opportunities compared with individuals in other clusters. However, the Blended/Low Ethnic and American cluster exhibited more liabilities associated with discrimination. Discussion emphasizes the importance of multiple identities in development.

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