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Implications of ethnic identity exploration and ethnic identity affirmation and belonging for intergroup attitudes among adolescents

  • Author(s): Whitehead, KA
  • Ainsworth, AT
  • Wittig, MA
  • Gadino, B
  • et al.
Abstract

The present paper develops and tests two temporal models of the relationships among adolescents' ethnic identity exploration, ethnic identity affirmation and belonging, and attitudes toward their racial/ethnic ingroup and outgroups. Structural equation models for Euro-Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos revealed that all hypothesized relationships were positive and significant. The model in which ethnic identity exploration (at Time 1) predicts ethnic identity affirmation and belonging (at Time 2) was superior to the alternative model in which the relationship between them was reversed (i.e., affirmation and belonging at Time 1 predicts exploration at Time 2). Results (1) support the importance of exploration as a basis for establishing a secure attachment to one's ethnic identity, which, in turn, has positive implications for attitudes toward one's own group and other groups and (2) suggest that maintenance of ethnic identity is compatible with positive attitudes toward ethnic outgroups. © 2009, Society for Research on Adolescence.

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