Critical incidents in the development of (multi)ethnic-racial identity: Experiences of individuals with mixed ethnic-racial backgrounds in the U.S.

Megan E. Cardwell, Jordan Soliz, Lisa J. Crockett, Gretchen L. Bergquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Secure ethnic-racial identity (ERI) is tied to well-being, especially for minority individuals; however, there is still little consensus on the key processes and optimal outcomes of various multiethnic-racial (ME-R; i.e., individuals with parents from different ethnic-racial groups) identity development models. In this study, we examine the critical incidents in personal and social relationships that are central to ME-R identity development. Twenty-nine ME-R individuals provided retrospective accounts of incidents and conversations they self-perceived to be critical to their ERI development. Four major themes emerged: incidents and conversations surrounding intergroup contact, confrontation, heritage, and appearance were all recalled as critical to ME-R identity development. These findings highlight the importance of studying the ways that ERI is constituted through interaction with others. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1653-1672
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Keywords

  • Critical conversations
  • critical incidents
  • ethnic-racial socialization
  • identity
  • multiethnic-racial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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