Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measurement invariance across adolescence and diverse ethnic groups

Sycarah Fisher, Tamika B. Zapolski, Lorey Wheeler, Prerna G. Arora, Jessica Barnes-Najor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction: Ethnic identity is an important protective factor for various ethnic groups and developmental periods. Although existing measures assessing ethnic identity are well known, less is known about the measurement invariance of the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) across adolescent ethnic groups. The present study evaluates the factor structure of MEIM (Roberts et al., 1999) and tests the measurement invariance across early and middle adolescence and ethnic background (N = 4940). Methods: Data from an ethnic minority sample of youth (54% girls; Mage = 13.88, grades 6th – 12th; 60% African American, 22% multi-ethnic, 8% Latinx, 5% Asian, 5% American Indian) in the United States of America were examined using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and multi-group measurement invariance via a structural equation modeling (SEM) framework. Models for invariance were tested using full information maximum likelihood-robust (FIML-R) estimation in Mplus. Results: CFA supported a three-factor solution (i.e., cognitive clarity, behavioral engagement, and affective pride). The model indicated scalar invariance across early and middle adolescence and partial scalar invariance across the five self-identified racial/ethnic minority groups. There were no grade differences on the ethnic identity factors. Among the racial/ethnic groups, multi-ethnic youth reported the lowest levels on all three ethnic identity factors compared to the other groups. Conclusions: Results of this study point to the validity of using the MEIM for meaningful comparisons of ethnic identity across ethnic groups and across early and middle adolescence. Implications for the interpretation and use of this measure with diverse adolescents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-51
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Adolescence
  • Development
  • Diversity
  • Ethnic identity
  • Measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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