The Relationship Between Racial Identity, Ethnic Identity, and African-American Acculturation and their Contribution to Psychological Well-Being
Description: Since there are few studies which address the relationships between racial/ethnic identity and acculturation in the African-American community, the purpose of this study was threefold: 1) explore the relationship between racial identity and African-American acculturation; 2) examine racial and ethnic identity associations; and 3) observe the connections between these cultural constructs and psychological well-being. One hundred ninety-four African-American undergraduates from a predominantly White institution and two historically Black colleges completed measures of these constructs, self-esteem, and depression. The findings indicate a relationship between racial identity and acculturation for three of the four Cross (1971) stages (encounter, immersion-emersion, and internalization). Relinquishing the White frame of reference and achieving inner security with their Blackness coincides with immersion in the eight facets comprising African-American culture. Individuals who do not identify with their race (pre-encounter) less often affiliated with their ethnic group. Conversely, achieving racial identity (internalization) was associated with ethnic identity attachment. Finally, the study's findings suggest that identity development may affect how individuals perceive themselves and feel emotionally, which may depend on identity achievement. Pre-encounter stage scores were associated with reports of higher depression and lower self-esteem; whereas, higher internalization individuals reported higher self-esteem. As for ethnic identity, those who have explored options and made commitments to their ethnic group reported fewer symptoms of depression and higher self-esteem. The converse was also true. Community acceptance was predicted to mediate the relationship between acculturation and psychological well-being. Although this was unfounded, the data indicate that traditional individuals living in predominantly White neighborhoods reported more depressive symptoms than did dominant society acculturated individuals living there. Interesting demographic findings and future research directions are provided.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Wilcots, Kylynnedra D.
Partner: UNT Libraries