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15-03-2018 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 10/2018

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 10/2018

The Development of Ethnic/Racial Self-Labeling: Individual Differences in Context

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 10/2018
Yuen Mi Cheon, Sara Douglass Bayless, Yijie Wang, Tiffany Yip


Ethnic/racial self-labeling represents one’s knowledge of and preference for ethnic/racial group membership, which is related to, but distinguishable from, ethnic/racial identity. This study examined the development of ethnic/racial self-labeling over time by including the concept of elaboration among a diverse sample of 297 adolescents (Time 1 mean age 14.75, 67% female, 37.4% Asian or Asian American, 10.4% Black, African American, or West Indian, 23.2% Hispanic or Latinx, 24.2% White, 4.4% other). Growth mixture modeling revealed two distinct patterns—low and high self-labeling elaboration from freshman to sophomore year of high school. Based on logistic regression analyses, the level of self-labeling elaboration was generally low among the adolescents who were foreign-born, reported low levels of ethnic/racial identity exploration, or attended highly diverse schools. We also found a person-by-context interaction where the impact of school diversity varied for foreign-born and native-born adolescents (b = 12.81, SE = 6.30, p < 0.05) and by the level of ethnic/racial identity commitment (b = 14.32, SE = 6.65, p < 0.05). These findings suggest varying patterns in ethnic/racial self-labeling elaboration among adolescents from diverse backgrounds and their linkage to individual and contextual factors.

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