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An important aspect of identity development requires adolescents to consider and select the cultural label or labels that best fit with their conception of who they are. Yet, little is known about the longitudinal development of such labeling preferencs and their possible links with adjustment. Using longitudinal data from 180 Asian Americans (60% female; 74% U.S.-born), intra-individual and group-level changes in adolescents’ American label use were tracked. Over time, 48% chose an American label as their “best-fitting” label and 42% chose an American label at least once, but did not include an American label during at least one other time point. American label use was not associated with continuous measures of American identity, but the use of American labels was linked with lower levels of ethnic identity. American identity, whether indicated by label use or continuous scale scores, was generally linked with positive psychological and academic adjustment, with some effects of label use moderated by gender and generational status. Developmental implications of American cultural labels as markers of adolescent identity and broader adjustment are discussed.
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- Identifying as American among Adolescents from Asian Backgrounds
Melissa R. Witkow
- Springer US