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Keywords:

  • cultural identity;
  • acculturation;
  • ethnicity;
  • context;
  • Latvia

This study uses semi-structured interviews to examine how 16 people of Latvian heritage negotiated their cultural identities in high school (retrospectively) and at midlife (concurrently). Participants’ high school and midlife cultural identity patterns were coded as marginalized, separated, assimilated, alternating integrated, or blended integrated. Although eleven participants were found to have had marginalized, separated, or alternating integrated patterns in high school, all 16 had either assimilated or blended integrated patterns at midlife. Further, there is evidence that the contexts in which identity negotiation occurred—specifically, the rigidity of the participants’ Latvian and American contexts in high school and their relative openness at midlife—influenced these changes in pattern. The findings also underscore the importance of taking into account within-group differences when studying how people negotiate their cultural identities.