The Impact of Multiple Dimensions of Ethnic Identity on Discrimination and Adolescents’ Self-Estees


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    Data were collected under the auspices of National Institute of Mental Health Grant No. 51687 awarded to Robert E. Roberts.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Andrea Romero, Mexican American Studies and Research Center, University of Arizona, Cesar E. Chavez Building 23, Room 208, Tucson, AZ 85721.


The rejection-identification model is investigated with multiple dimensions of ethnic identity in a sample of Mexican American youth. It is hypothesized that more perceived discrimination will be associated with higher ethnic identity in general, but that the multiple dimensions of ethnic identity will be associated differentially with discrimination. Higher perceived discrimination will be associated with more ethnic exploration and less ethnic affirmation. Self-report questionnaires were completed by middle school students of Mexican descent (N= 881). Based on structural equation modeling, the data were found to fit the rejection-identification model (p < .05). Higher discrimination was associated with lower ethnic affirmation (p < .05) and lower ethnic exploration (p < .05). Post hoc analyses indicated a significant interaction between discrimination and ethnic affirmation (p < .01) such that youth with high ethnic affirmation who experienced high discrimination still reported high self-esteem. The findings are discussed in the context of understanding methods of coping with prejudice and discrimination that will enhance the mental well-being of minority youth.