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Abstract

This study examined the roles that identification with the heritage group and identification with the majority group play in the relationship between discrimination (subtle or blatant) and subjective well-being among ethnic minority group members. Participants were 320 ethnic Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands who completed a questionnaire that measured their well-being, their perceptions of subtle and blatant discrimination, and their heritage group and majority group identification. The analyses found that relationships between discrimination and well-being varied as a joint function of the source and strength of people's ethnic identification. Individuals who identified more strongly with their heritage group were more likely to report discrimination than low identifiers but were less likely to be negatively affected by it. For those who identified strongly with their heritage group, experiences with subtle and blatant discrimination and well-being were unrelated, whereas for those who identified weakly with their heritage group, discrimination and well-being were negatively related. In contrast, individuals who identified more strongly with the majority group were less likely to report discrimination than low identifiers but were more likely to be negatively affected by it. For those who identified strongly with the majority group, discrimination and well-being were negatively related, whereas for those who identified weakly with the majority group, discrimination and well-being were unrelated. These results suggest that although identifying strongly with the heritage group may buffer ethnic minorities from the negative effects of discrimination, identifying strongly with the majority group may exacerbate these effects. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.