The Interpretation of Multiracial Status and Its Relation to Social Engagement and Psychological Well-Being


  • Kevin R. Binning and Miguel M. Unzueta contributed equally to this article. Their names are presented in alphabetical order. The data reported in this article are part of a larger data set collected with a UCLA Center for Community Partnership Grant awarded to Yuen J. Huo.

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Miguel M. Unzueta, UCLA Anderson School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles, 110 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095. [e-mail:].


This research examines how multiracial individuals chose to identify themselves with respect to their racial identity and how this choice relates to their self-reported psychological well-being (e.g., self-esteem, positive affect) and level of social engagement (e.g., citizenship behaviors, group alienation). High school students who belong to multiple racial/ethnic groups (N = 182) were asked to indicate the group with which they primarily identify. Participants were then classified as identifying with a low-status group (i.e., Black or Latino), a high-status group (i.e., Asian or White), or multiple groups (e.g., Black and White, etc.). Results showed that, compared with multiracial individuals who identified primarily with a low- or high-status group, those who identified with multiple groups tended to report either equal or higher psychological well-being and social engagement. Potential explanations and implications for understanding multiracial identity are discussed.