A Preliminary Analysis of Associations Among Ethnic–Racial Socialization, Ethnic Discrimination, and Ethnic Identity Among Urban Sixth Graders


Requests for reprints should be sent to Deborah Rivas-Drake, Education Department, Brown University, 21 Manning Walk, Providence, RI 02912. E-mail: deborah_rivas_drake@brown.edu


Drawing from cultural ecological models of adolescent development, the present research investigates how early adolescents received ethnic–racial socialization from parents as well as how experiences of ethnic and racial discrimination are associated with their ethnic identity (i.e., centrality, private regard, and public regard). Data for this study were drawn from a multimethod study of ethnically and socioeconomically diverse early adolescents in three mid- to high-achieving schools in New York City. After accounting for the influences of race/ethnicity, social class, gender, immigrant status, and self-esteem, parental ethnic–racial socialization was associated with higher levels of ethnic centrality (i.e., the extent to which youth identify themselves in terms of their group), more positive private regard (i.e., feelings about one's own ethnic group), and public regard (i.e., perceptions of other people's perceptions of their ethnic group). Ethnic discrimination from adults at school and from peers was associated with more negative perceptions of one's ethnic group (i.e., public regard). In addition, the association of ethnic–racial parent socialization and ethnic identity beliefs was stronger for those who reported higher levels of adult discrimination. Results highlight key ways in which ethnic identity may be shaped by the social ecologies in which adolescents are embedded.