A study was conducted with 81 minority students at a small liberal arts college who were previously studied freshman year. Students with strong ethnic identities upon entry to college displayed no change in ethnic measures over time, however students with weak ethnic identities showed significant increases over time on virtually all measures of ethnicity. During freshman year, the significant predictors of ethnicity were involvement in
high school ethnic organizations, family participation in cultural traditions, and percentage of ethnic high school friends. However by junior year the significant predictors were attendance at ethnic events and involvement in ethnic media. From freshman year to
junior year, this study also found a significant relationship between one’s membership patterns in an ethnic organization and other ethnic measures. Those students who were members by junior year, but had not been members freshman year scored highest on all measures of ethnic identity.
The analysis of ethnic group membership as an important social group may be traced to Tajfel (1981)in his remark that social identity is, “that part of an individual’s self-concept which derives from his knowledge of his membership of a social group (or groups) together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership” (p. 255). Thus one might consider ethnic identity to be a particular form of social identity, similar to gender identity or the identity derived from a career. Rosenthal & Hrynevich (1985, p. 723) concur, “One of the social categories by which individuals are defined is the ethnic group of which they are members. an ethnic identity. Within the context of a particular ethnic group, the individual synthesizes This identity develops from experiences unique to different groups, with the values and traditions of the ethnic culture being integrated into one’s definition of self.” Ethnic identity is a complex construct that transcends other social categories like career, class, or gender, though it often contains subsets such as these. Ethnicity is unique for it is comprises membership in a specific group (or groups), but ethnicity also includes issues of race, culture, majority/minority relationships. If ethnicity is to be distilled into a single concept it could be rendered as a group of people bound together with a common culture. “Ethnic identity is a social identity like class identity or gender identity, it differs from other social identities by the belief in a 2
example language and religion” (Vermeulen & Pels, 1984, p. 277278). There are instances in history when ethnicity and race particularly impacted other social identities such as possible venues of work or choices of education (Chinese railroad immigrants and segregation of black students from white students), but in these events the manifest event did not confer the ethnicity; laboring on the California railways did not make one Chinese, although large numbers of Chinese were transferred for those purposes, and the segregation from white students did not cause one to become ethnically black. Yet from the prevalence of this discrimination and lesser minority status, these negative attributes are recognized as a facet of ethnicity (Phinney, 1996; Phinney & Rosenthal, 1995; Vermeulen & Pels, 1984). Though ethnic identity is not truly determined by other social organizations (gender and religion), ethnic identity is still inherently influenced by social dynamics and dependent upon past traditions and present developments (Phinney & Rosenthal, 1992). Yet beyond contention as most surface definitions, the consensus of ethnic to what determines and composes ethnicity. identity dissolves into a host of factors, for which there is much Essentially, ethnicity can be distilled into three factors (Phinney, 1996): cultural values, attitudes, and behaviors that distinguish ethnic groups; a subjective sense of ethnic group membership that is held by group members; and the experience associated with minority prejudice. status, including powerlessness, discrimination, and
Cultural values, attitudes, and behaviors that distinguish ethnic groups According to Phinney (1996) the first factor (cultural values, attitudes, and behaviors) can be conceptualized as “norms, values, attitudes, and behaviors that are typical of an ethnic group and that stem from a common culture of origin transmitted across generations” (p. 920). Ethnicity is separated from other social One may speak of
composites not only because of the presence of a culture, but also by history and traditions through generations. the prevalent and specific cultures of the 1970’s or 1990’s, but we do not apply the term ‘ethnic’ to counter-culture groups or “Generation X,” for neither of these possessed a true history or tradition beyond their conception. Phinney & Rosenthal (1992) define an ethnic culture as, “positive (or negative) attitudes toward the group, a sense of shared attitudes and values and specific ethnic traditions and practices, such as language, behavior, and customs” (p.147). In their attempt to operationalize ethnic identity, Landrine and Klonoff (1994) considered ethnicity as “attitudes and values and specific ethnic traditions and practices” including: value of family, superstitions and a strong religious belief, and regular consumption of certain traditional foods. In Landrine and Klonoff’s operationalized concept of ethnicity, these traits implied a traditional ethnic culture. Rosenthal and Hrynevich’s (1985) measure of ethnic identity included measures of family and social relations, community, religion, language, food, sport or amusement, customs, and physical characteristics. They concluded, “characteristics which emerged in creating ethnic identity were 4 parents, language, external
characteristics, and cultural practices which helped to maintain the traditional culture....External characteristics included physical appearance and name, while cultural traditions included food eaten, celebration of religious and other cultural festivals” (p. 734). It is tempting to utilize obvious ethnic manifestations as a gauge to determine ethnic loyalty, however, the presence or absence of cultural aspects do not determine ethnicity alone. Phinney (1996) cautions, “although cultural norms and values are an important component of the construct of ethnicity they cannot alone explain the role of ethnicity in particular psychological outcomes” (p. 922). Ethnicity encompasses much more than a set of behaviors, and cannot be evaluated by a simple check list of qualities. An individual who is actively involved in her ethnic community may demonstrate little ethnic behavior while attending school, and if at that moment academics are more important, she may not rank ethnicity as highly as if in another situation. Thus one must consider that ethnic identity includes more than concrete cultural behaviors and adherence to a particular culture. These outward manifestations do not speak of the internalized identity or sense of membership, a quality that may or may not be visible in ethnic practices or cultural participation. Subjective sense of ethnic group membership that is held by group members An objective sense of group membership is the connection conferred by birth with a particular group of people, one with which there is a sense of belonging regardless of an individual’s own actions or beliefs. Group membership might be acknowledged 5
during perfunctory activities like self identification via ethnic categories on applications. This does not provide an indication of the subjective sense: how the individual feels about their ethnicity. In such an instance, no more is required of the individual than the realization of an inherent label. This innate ethnicity cannot be gained or discarded (Maldonado, 1975), “For the minority person, his race or ethnicity is an issue he must reckon with, not by choice but because of the social environment” (p. 622). It is during this reckoning that the subjective sense arises, and individuals may deny or acknowledge their ethnicity. However the individual decides to regard his ethnicity, his attitude “defines membership in a Some individuals may regard subjective way and gives meaning and content to this membership” (Vermeulen & Pels, 1984, p. 277). their ethnicity as having little importance while others would consider it as very integral. Likewise people can vary their degree of negative and positive associations with their ethnicity. Perception of ethnic identity is not the only component of a subjective sense of ethnic group membership. One’s feelings of Ethnic total belonging and commitment to one’s ethnic group establish degree and quality of identification (Phinney & Rosenthal, 1992). identity might hold a very central may position be one in of one’s development, but that position
separation or supportive affiliation. Additionally, this subjective sense of ethnicity impacts the group as a whole. A minority group whose members hold their ethnic group in high regard will subjectively differ from a minority group whose members do not have a positive subjective sense of their group membership. “The experience and psychological well6
being of an ethnic minority group in society depend on a number of factors, among them the way in which group members relate to their own group” (Phinney & Onwughalu, 1996, p. 127). While a subjective sense of ethnic group membership is generated and contained in the emotions of the individual, it also includes self-labels created by the individual. These self-labels are more than mere check-boxes and demand more than a simple acknowledgement of racial or ethnic affiliation. According to Phinney (1996) the self-label includes “a sense of belonging, positive evaluation, preference for the group, ethnic interest and knowledge, and involvement in activities associated with the group” (p. 923). The experience associated with minority status Any particular group is a minority if it exists in a larger majority culture. Groups that are considered a minority within one area, like the Chinese in America, would not be a minority, or really an ethnic group if examined where they are a majority. “In an ethnically or racially homogeneous society, ethnic identity is a virtually meaningless concept” (Phinney, 1990, p. 499). Phinney (1996) asserts that minority status is essential but also problematic, considering that many non-European groups are no longer minorities in certain areas (e.g., the Hispanic population in regions of the Southwest). Also numerous European groups do not have a true minority sense given their extreme similarity with a dominant white culture (as in America). A minority distinction must be conscious to group members given that minority status includes “the way in which they relate to and are perceived by, members of 7
the larger society” (Phinney & Onwughalu, 1996, p. 127). If the members are not occupied even in the slightest amount with the asymmetry between the majority culture and the minority, then they are essentially an assimilated part of the majority culture and no relating between groups is possible. Minority status alters the group experience. Many fundamental differences arise in daily existence between a minority ethnic group and an amorphous majority culture: instances of discrimination, obstacles in life compared to the racially unimpeded majority, and either open hostility or concealed aversion (Phinney & Rosenthal, 1992). In the face of these difficulties, “the concept of ethnic identity provides a way of understanding the need to assert oneself in the face of threats to one’s identity” (Phinney, 1990, p. 499). The minority aspect of ethnic identity then becomes more ethnic identity is an even than the victim role, but rather this facet is a hurdle to pass and once surmounted the individual’s stronger element of the self-concept. As Phinney (1996) also notes, “the significance of their group membership may lie in part in the struggle to gain equality, recognition, and acceptance within a predominantly white society” (p. 919). obstacles, and issues of self-esteem. Though the negative aspects of minority status are certainly undesirable, theorists argue that individuals who successfully and positively navigate their ethnicity then benefit from their ethnic identity. “If minority youth are to construct a strong, positive, and stable self-identity, then they must be able to incorporate into that sense of self a positively valued ethnic identity” (Phinney & 8 This struggle will entail resistance to discrimination and stereotypes, the toil of overcoming
Rosenthal, 1992 p. 145).
This success may be external, e.g.,
obtaining a job in some area traditionally held by the majority, or it may be internal, e.g., realizing discrimination is a fault of a narrow minded group of people and unrelated to one’s worth as a person. However, as this aspect is an experience, the significance is proportionate to the extent that an individual recognizes his minority status and attributes events to that status (Phinney, 1996). Furthermore, a negative minority status implies that an individual must encounter powerlessness, discrimination, and prejudice, but such is not always true. Wealthy minorities such as many Asian groups, particularly the Japanese and Chinese, would not necessarily confront all the socioeconomic difficulties that Black or Hispanic groups experience (Makabe, 1979; Vermeulen & Pels, 1984). Therefore, their perception of a minority status may be limited to awkward social encounters, minus the challenges of social mobility.
Acculturation While the primary burden of ethnic identity is either an active or unconscious connection to the ethnic group via the three factors previously mentioned, acculturation is the disassociation from the ethnic group and a simultaneous replacement with the majority culture. Acculturation occurs when the individual ranks low on ethnic behavior, or has no subjective cultural participation and
sense of group membership, or finally when an ethnic group enjoys the privileges of the majority culture and thus avoids a negative minority experience. In regards to the final factor, Makabe (1979) 9
refers to the position of affluent Japanese past the second generation. Ethnic group identity “tends to be weaker among those members who have experienced greater social mobility” (p. 144). The acculturative process refers to more than cultural loss; within the spectrum between cultural retention and cultural loss there exists a gradient. Landrine and Klonoff (1994) define acculturation as “the extent to (and the process through) which ethnic-cultural minorities participate in the cultural traditions, values, beliefs, assumptions, and practices of the dominant White society (acculturated), remain immersed in their own cultures (traditional), or participate in the traditions of their own culture and the dominant White culture as well (bi-cultural)” (p. 104). Therefore acculturation is composed of several distinct positions: no loss of ethnic culture-traditional (separatist), equal division between minority and majority culture (bi-cultural), complete immersion in the majority culture (acculturated). At one end of the continuum is the separation strategy (Berry, 1994), the reaffirmation of the individual’s inherited ethnicity and a denial of integration with the majority culture. At the other end of the continuum lies assimilation, 1994, p. 134). accepted one is by “culture shedding,” and equally important, “acceptance of and by the dominant society” (Berry, Individuals do not acculturate if they detest the the dominant from culture. so. Acculturation Furthermore requires the majority group, nor would acculturation occur if one was not participation in the majority process, something quite difficult if doing during
acculturation process “substantial behavioral change occurs, leading to an individual behavioral repertoire that virtually matches that 10
typically found in the larger society” (Berry, 1994 p. 136). This assimilation is not always a complete resemblance and identification with the majority culture. Berry (1994) notes that cultural behaviors may dominate in the private life while majority behavior will be manifest in public domains. Such a heterogeneous identity would qualify as bi-cultural or integrated. exists an inverse form of acculturation – Lastly there marginalization.
Marginalization is “low culture learning, high culture shedding,” (Berry, 1994, p. 134) and essentially the most problematic of the four possibilities. A marginalized person is deficient in regard to both their ethnicity and the majority culture. Thus ultimately four alternatives arise for membership in two cultures: assimilated, separated, integrated/bi-cultural, and marginal (Berry, 1994; Phinney & DuPont, 1994). A substantial conflict arises in the measure of acculturation because it is possible to maintain ethnic identity and simultaneously to identify with majority culture. Thus, allegiance to a larger society alone is not a sufficient indicator of acculturation; usually one must also be devoid of ethnic connections. However the measurement of acculturation becomes even more problematic in that one could identify as part of the majority society, but not consider oneself a member. Phinney and DuPont (1994) write that, “It is important to clarify the distinction between regarding oneself as American, that is considering oneself a citizen or potential citizen, and identifying with the American dream” (p. 171). Beyond the obvious loss of ethnic culture, there is concern that acculturated individuals may suffer a reduction in self-esteem (a more complete discussion follows under Self-Esteem). 11 Phinney
and Rosenthal (1992) caution, “A preference for mainstream culture, or the wish to be a member of the dominant group, would seem to be incompatible with a secure ethnic identity.” (p. 158). Other authors contradict this view asserting that certain individuals may function proficiently in the majority culture and enjoy their life, but simultaneously maintain pride in their ethnicity. Iwamasa (1996) writes, “many Asian American individuals who exhibit higher levels of acculturation, while interacting effectively in U.S. society, may be extremely proud of their ethnic heritage, for example the second and third generation Japanese Americans were the major force behind seeking reparations from the U.S. government for the incarceration of mostly first-generation Japanese American in concentration camps during World War II”(p. 101). Racial Identity Janet Helms (1990) defined racial identity as the “sense of group or collective identity based on one’s perception that he or she shares a common racial heritage with a particular group” (p. 3). In constructing this definition, Helms used Casas’ (1984) definition of race, ‘“a sub-group of peoples possessing a definite combination of physical characters, or genetic origin, the combination of which to varying degrees distinguishes the sub-group from other sub-groups of mankind (p. 787)”’(p. 3). Helms then posits that racial identity contains three fundamental aspects: a common racial heritage with a racial group, a common historical experience, and finally acknowledgment of shared racial membership with others of similar 12
Helms (1990) carefully distinguishes between racial identity
and ethnic identity by noting, “This biological definition has no behavioral, psychological, or social implication ipso facto” (p. 3). Thus ethnicity differs from race in that race is biologically defined while ethnicity is conferred by a cultural heritage. However ethnicity may or may not contain racial issues, and to whatever degree this is applicable for a particular group, their ethnicity is still ultimately a product of culture.
Nigrescence and Black Racial Identity Development Models From the analysis of racial identity emerged models of racial identity development. Cross’ Nigrescence model (1995), arguably the most famous racial/ethnic identity model, exemplifies these developmental paradigms. The models are conceptually similar to Eriksonian development of the ego (Erikson 1968) and Marcia’s (1994) operationalization of Erikson's model as defined by four identity statuses. Erikson’s classic model spans the course of the human life, while Marcia derived his identity model from Erikson’s Identity versus Identity Diffused stage, but then expanded it to include the four statuses (foreclosed, moratorium, diffused, and achieved). In Marcia’s model, foreclosed individuals are “characterized by commitment with an absence of exploration” (Marcia, 1994, p 74), while those in moratorium are similar to the essence of moratorium described by Erikson (1968), full of exploration but not yet committed to an identity. Identity diffused are “individuals who may have done some cursory exploring, but who remain uncommitted” (Marcia, 1994, p. 76). Finally, identity achievement represents the culmination of the exploratory process 13
resolved with occupational and ideological commitments.
Marcia never explicitly states that one identity is better than another, one can infer that the achieved is the most “developed” of the four. Thus on a developmental continuum it is the apex, while the ‘diffused’ is generally negative. In the case of racial or ethnic development models, instead of ego issues the individual progresses though an exploration of race or ethnicity to an achieved, complete racial or ethnic identity. Cross (1995) originated the black racial model which is described as a “developmental process by which a person becomes black” (Helms, 1990, p. 17), where “black is defined in terms of one’s manner of thinking about and evaluating oneself and one’s reference groups.” These models sprang from a concern that overidentification with the majority white culture was psychologically unhealthy. Thus within the black identity models, individuals move from the least healthy white identification stage to the most healthy stage of racial transcendence (Cross, 1995; Helms 1990). Four stages of development are traditionally included (Cross, 1995): Preencounter, Encounter, Immersion/Emersion, and finally Internalization. Preencounter is marked by an absence of black selfconcept, and definition and approval that comes from whites. The definition/approval aspect is either active or passive. Active is the deliberate idealization of whiteness and white culture and the denigration of blacks and black culture; passive is a world view that clearly mirrors the dominant white society, massive denial to maintain a fiction of racial equality, and a belief in social mobility for themselves. “At some point in their lives it becomes impossible to deny the 14
reality that they cannot become an accepted part of the White world” (Helms, 1990, p. 25). This marks the Encounter stage, described by Helms as “events that touch the person’s inner core and makes salient the contradiction that no matter how well he or she personally conforms to white standards, most whites will always perceive him or her as black and therefore inferior” (p. 25). During the Encounter stage the individual oscillates between the Preencounter identity and the developing ethnic identity. Gradually a greater commitment is made to black culture and one withdraws psychologically and if possible physically into an exploration of what it means to be black. This withdrawal from the majority society and entrance into black culture begins the Immersion stage. This stage may include: interest in African history and literature, involvement in political issues, “urban” hairstyles, change of name to one more African sounding, and an overwhelming love and attachment to all that is black (Cross, 1995). During Emersion the individual emerges from the ethnic milieu, develops a positive non-stereotypic black perspective on the world, and becomes extensively involved in cathartic and educative activities. In the last stage, Internalization, the individual incorporates a positive, personally relevant black identity and blacks become the primary reference group. The well internalized individual conducts her daily life in accordance with her newly developed black perspective. Furthermore once Internalization is reached the individual no longer evaluates himself on the basis of his relation to whites, but on his relation to blacks (Cross, 1995, Helms, 1990). The racial identity model has been integrated with traditional 15
ego identity statuses (foreclosed, moratorium, achieved) to produce a applicable model for ethnic identity development. unexamined ethnic identity (foreclosed). Phinney and Rosenthal (1992) describe the first stage as characterized by an The attitudes held during this stage, both positive and negative, have not been gained through search and evaluation, but rather from parental and larger societal factors like the community. Cross’ Encounter stage. Eventually, the individual experiences an event that makes his ethnicity salient, much like Thus for a time period they will explore their ethnicity in an Immersion or moratorium like fashion. Finally, in the ideal progression, this exploration stage is resolved and the individual makes a commitment to their ethnic group, which Phinney and Rosenthal (1992) parallel to an achieved identity or Cross’ final Internalization stage. In an overview of ethnic stage theory Phinney (1990) writes, “The stage model suggests that as a result of this process, people come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of their ethnicity-that is ethnic identity achievement or internalization”(p. 503) Caution must be exercised because the achieved identity may not be outwardly apparent. Phinney (1990) does warn, “achievement does not necessarily imply a high degree of ethnic involvement; one could presumably be clear cut and confident of one’s ethnicity without wanting to maintain one’s ethnic language or customs”(p. 503). This consideration would also apply to the issue of acculturation. Finally, the progressive nature of these models would suggest a linear development through the various stages or statuses. However, human beings rarely function in purely mathematical manners, and individuals may return to a stage, or skip over 16
or start immediately from Immersion.
(1989) coined the term recycling to refer to the phenomenon of returning to a stage that has already been resolved. Cross (1995) himself concedes that individuals may recycle through the stages and praises Parham (1989) for proposing the notion of recycling. Cross notes that an individual could complete the developmental process while in college, but a significant life event like marriage could cause a reevaluation of his racial identity. Empirical Measures of Ethnicity and Acculturation Black Racial Identity After Cross constructed his theory of Nigrescence the question arose of how to empirically operationalize such a model. Helms (1990) created the Black Racial Identity Attitude Scale (RIAS-B) to tap four stages of black racial identity: Preencounter, Encounter, Immersion/Emersion, and Internalization. The original study was conducted on 58 university students and from this study reliability evidence was obtained for each stage measured: Preencounter =. 69, Encounter = .5, Immersion/Emerson = .6, Internalization =. 79. After this study a larger survey with 250 students produced higher reliabilities: Preencounter = .76, Encounter = .51, Immersion/Emerson = .69, Internalization = .8. eluded empirical observation. Of all the stages,
Encounter has the lowest alpha (.51), and is a stage that perpetually The Encounter stage is ambiguous, consisting of an event, or events, or series of events that instill a realization of discrimination by the majority and a constant disparity in treatment and privileges. 17 Thus, it is difficult to
systematically assess such a stage when one individual might experience a direct instance of discrimination and another could be suddenly struck with the awareness of different standards applied according to race. Helms (1990) concedes, “it is difficult to measure a phenomenon consistently if the phenomenon itself is not consistent (p.44). Multi-Ethnic Identity Measures One of the most widely accepted measures of ethnic identity was developed by Phinney (1992). diverse ethnic groups. of belonging She created the Multi-group Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) to sample not just blacks, but also The MEIM contains 14 items and assesses and pride, Belonging), feeling Ethnic Identity one’s three aspects of ethnic identity: positive ethnic attitudes and sense (Affirmation “ethnic Achievement, and Ethnic Behaviors. The Affirmation and Belonging subscale assesses good about background and being happy with one’s group membership, as well as feelings of belonging and attachment to the group” (p. 159) The Ethnic Identity Achievement subscale measures the basis of exploration of and commitment to an ethnicity, much like Marcia’s (1994) criterion for a general achieved identity. Behaviors and Practices subscale assesses The Ethnic in involvement
organizations or social groups and participation in cultural practices like food, music, or special customs. Along with these three components, Phinney included a measure of other group orientation intended to determine attitudes towards groups outside one’s ethnicity. Phinney and Dupont (1994) report high reliability alphas for the total MEIM, .81 for high school students and .90 for college students. 18
Development Scale (AAID) developed by Kim (1981), the Minority Identity Development Scale (MID) created by Atkinson, Morten, and
Sue (1989), and the Scales for the Effects of Ethnicity and
Discrimination (SEED) designed by Mirage (1987).
Acculturation Measures Acculturative measures are essentially the opposite of ethnic or racial measures. Instead of determining the degree of ethnic development and achievement, the measures use a variety of scales to evaluate the individual’s distance from a conceptualized norm of ethnic identity. Acculturation scales typically utilize self-rated peer response questions that tap ethnic culture; they may consist of overt physical behaviors, internal beliefs and values, language, or the individual’s ethnicity. One example of an acculturation scale that measures primarily ethnic behavior and beliefs/values is Landrine and Klonoff’s (1994) 74-item acculturation scale related to African-American life. The items are arrayed into eight sub scales: traditional African-American religious beliefs and practices, traditional African-American family structure and practices, traditional African-American socialization, preparations and consumption of traditional foods, preference for African-American things, interracial attitudes, superstitions, and traditional African-American health beliefs and practices. Another acculturative measure, the Suinn-Lew Asian Selfassociations, and degree of identification with the majority culture
Identity Acculturation (SL-ASIA) (Suinn, Rickard-Figueroa, Lew, &
Vigil, 1987) measures six different domains Suinn et al. believed indicative of acculturation: language (4 items), identity (4 items), 19
generation/geographic history (3 items), and attitudes (1 item), as applicable to Asians. To obtain an assessment of acculturation, a Thus an individual can score any total value is obtained by summing across the 21 answers, obtaining the total, and dividing by 21. where from 1 (low acculturation) to 5 (high acculturation). Suinn et al. have found first generation Asians to have a mean score of 2.96; second , 3.57; third, 3.78; fourth, 3.78; fifth, 3.85. They interpret the progressive (and significant) increase in acculturation scores between first generation and fifth generation Asians as indicative of the gradual assimilation that occurs over time. Suinn et al. report a high reliability for this scale, alpha = .88. Similar to the SL-ASIA is Montegomery’s (1992) acculturation scale designed specifically for Mexican Americans. The scale was also composed of 28 questions assessing language use, ethnic behaviors, ethnic or non-ethnic friends, and ethnic related activities. After factor analysis the 28 variables formed five factors: comfort with Spanish language media, Mexican traditions, and comfort speaking or thinking in Spanish; comfort with English language media and Anglo-American tradition; preference for one’s ethnic identity; self-rated ethnic identity; and comfort with speaking and thinking in English. The reliability alpha coefficients for the five factors were, respectively, .92, .86, .92, .90, and .92. Acculturation would be indicated by scoring high on the measures related to the dominant culture (e.g., more comfortable speaking English), while high scores in the Hispanic domains would indicate a more ethnic orientation. Phinney and Dupont (1994) developed an empirical measure 20
of identification with American ideals. Respondents were asked to rate each item in terms of personal relevance, using a 4-point scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Theoretically a high identification with American ideals would indicate strong desire for the majority culture, while a low score would express disdain. Additionally, the MEIM was employed in conjunction with this scale to measure the degree of ethnic identity compared to the American Ideals measure. Phinney and Dupont reported a reliability alpha of .85. This listing of acculturative measures is by no means an exhaustive compendium, there are more currently in existence (e.g.,
Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans by Cuellar,
Arnold, & Maldonado, 1995) and surely more will be created. One of the primary reasons for such a large number is that each target group is rarely related to another. Beyond the most superficial Asians, Hispanics, similarities in minority existence, the cultural aspects confound a single but thorough acculturative measure for African-Americans, and any other ethnic group. Granted one could utilize a measure assessing identification or connection to the majority culture and thus obtain a sense of acculturation (as in Phinney & Dupont, 1994). However, without determining the amount of ethnic involvement the sense of acculturation would be incomplete. The analysis of ethnic involvement mandates separate measures for separate ethnic groups. ways; scales examining language As delineated through this ethnic identity, ethnic section, ethnic involvement can be measured in a great number of use, behaviors and values, group associations, and awareness of ethnic history and customs are amongst the most common measures. 21
Ethnicity and Context Ethnic Definition via Context So far ethnicity has been examined in and of itself, as a conceptual construct that contains many factors, graded levels and possible developmental models (e.g, the various positions of acculturation: assimilated, bi-cultural, or separatist; or developmental stage). In addition, situational context is an As Phinney (1996)
extremely crucial aspect of ethnic identity.
writes, “Ethnic identity is to a large extent defined by context; the particular context seems to be an essential factor to consider” (p. 509). The very relevance of ethnicity may vary from one situation to another. “First ethnicity may be a relevant dimension in some situations, but not or much less so in others. Secondly, the different situations in which individuals or groups find themselves will shape their ethnicity in different ways” (Vermeulen & Pels, 1984, p. 281). First, ethnic identity becomes salient when there is interaction between two groups. Phinney writes, “ethnic identity is meaningful only in situations in which two or more ethnic groups are in contact over a period of time” (1990, p. 501). Salience is usually defined as the degree to which one is conscious of ethnicity. “We are conscious of ourselves insofar as we are different and we perceive ourselves in terms of these distinctive features” (McGuire, McGuire, Child & Fujioka, 1978, p. 512). For example, for a Hispanic living in the Southwest among many other Hispanics, ethnic identity would not be as salient as living as a Hispanic amongst many Whites in a rural 22
McGuire et al. (1978) continue, “ethnicity is more
salient in people’s self-concepts in an ethnically mixed society” (p. 512). In addition, “In an integrated society, ethnicity is more salient in the self-concepts of members of the minority group than of the majority group” (p. 512). As this suggests, salience is dependent on the situation and varies from one context to another. The specific meaning individuals derive from their ethnicity in different situations is dependent upon the societal framework and “can only be understood in relation to both past experience and specific political, economic and social process” (Vermeulen & Pels, 1984 p. 277). Ethnicity is inherently determined by its salience to the extent that an individual who is not aware of ethnicity will be affected only minutely. Phinney (1996) asserts that, “ethnicity is meaningful to the extent that it has salience and centrality for the individuals involved”(p. 922). A circumstance that increases the awareness of ethnic group membership raises the salience of ethnic identity, e.g., moving from an area composed of mostly Korean people to a primarily white college. In this example, if one is not attentive to nor affected by the differences of life with non-Korean people, then the context will have little effect. Situational Variability One specific form of contextual influence on ethnic identity is situational context, the alteration of feelings and behavior depending on the situation. Rosenthal & Hrynevich (1985)
conducted a study of 622 Greek, Italian, and Anglo-Australian adolescents. Within the study, they found that both the Greek- and Italian-Australians felt strong connections to their ethnicity when in 23
a Greek or Italian environment. “When they were with their family, with migrant friends, at migrant social events, at church, or when speaking their second language, they identified strongly with their immigrant culture. group.” Implicit in their responses was that they elicited behaved in ways which were appropriate to the Greek/Italian ethnic On the other hand, an Australian environment feelings of Australian identity, “Being with Australian friends was the most frequent response for all activities and school” (p. 736-737). Change In Context An extensive change in context, permanent or semipermanent, like attending college as a freshman or moving to another locale, will usually increase the salience of a situation and alter the individual’s sense of ethnicity. “When identity is made salient, as for example by a change in context, a person will become increasingly identified with his or her group” (Ethier & Deaux, 1994, p. 244). Ethier and Deaux (1990) conducted a study with 45 firstyear Hispanic students at two Ivy League universities with the intention of determining how their sense of ethnic pride and selfesteem would be affected by attendance at predominantly white universities. They used the Collective Self-Esteem Scale and a groups....[also]recreation
Perceived Threat Scale to evaluate the relationship between
perceived threat to ethnic identity (due to a change in context to a predominantly white university) and self-esteem. Ethier & Deaux found that, “Perceptions of threat appear to be unrelated to selfesteem in being Hispanic” (p. 437) The self-reported mean importance of Hispanic identity (on a scale of 1-7) was 5.2, 24
indicating little loss of ethnic identity due to change in context. Additionally, participants were interviewed in a free response fashion with regard to identity descriptions. The single most common characteristic listed by the students was “proud,” again implicitly suggesting little effect upon the student’s total self-esteem by change in context. Unfortunately, this study suffered from a lack of a baseline measure and therefore it is not possible to compare the students’ current self-esteem and ethnic pride to their state of being before college. Thus one cannot determine if their ethnic identity really remained impervious to change. Ethier & Deaux (1994) then executed another study similar to the first, but students were measured across three time periods instead of one (November or December, February, and May of the freshman year). This study involved first-year Hispanic students at two Ivy League universities (sample size was 45, 39, and 36 respective to time period). Subjects were asked to self-generated The identities that were important to them, and then given questions that asked them to rate the importance of their ethnicity.
Collective Self-Esteem Scale was used to evaluate self-esteem related
to a Hispanic identity. Finally, involvement in ethnic culture was assessed in regards to background (friends and family) and current activity at college. identity” (p. 249) respectively. Ethier and Deaux attributed this stability in identity to a process they termed remooring, “With the movement to a new 25 They found no mean changes in importance At all three times the majority of subjects attached to identity, or level of self-esteem associated with ethnic mentioned an Hispanic identity as important – 87%, 83%, and 86%
locale, students who wished to maintain a strong ethnic identity needed to develop a base of support for that identity” (p. 249). The maintenance of this base of support was contained within their environment. In their study involvement with Hispanic activities functioned as a support of ethnic identity in the absence of the family background, “The more involved the students were with their ethnic group at college, the stronger their ethnic identity became in the second semester of the year” (p. 248). Thus in this particular study, the change in context did not elicit an actual change in ethnic identity; rather in this instance it is important to note why ethnic identity remained intact – involvement with college ethnic organizations. They concluded, “We suspect that this process is particularly characteristic of identities, like ethnicity, that are not directly tied to specific role relationships” (p. 249). In another study of ethnic identity and change in context, Ichiyama, McQuarrie, and Ching (1996) found changes in ethnic identity perceptions over time and with change in context. sophomore, junior, senior) at a medium-sized Their in study examined 119 students divided into subject’s year (freshman, university California. Of these students, 103 were born in Hawaii and were residents of that state. following variables: The students were evaluated on the attitude variables (the perceived group
appraisal of Mainland students for Hawaiians and within group appraisal), Hawaiian identification, affiliation with other Hawaiian students, and length of residence. Ichiyama et al. analyzed group attitudes, Hawaiian identification, and affiliation with other Hawaiian students as a function of length of residence in California with the consideration that moving from Hawaii to California was 26
the change in context.
They report, “The fourth year students
indicated less identification with being Hawaiian compared to the first to third year students. This finding suggests movement away from the aspects of ethnic identity associated with being Hawaiian over time” (p. 467). With regard to group attitude variables they found that first year students, “perceived the majority group students as holding more favorable attitudes toward Hawaiian students than did their longer term resident peers,” implying the perception of ethnic relationships also alters with context and time – apparently in a negative direction. In-group attitudes suffered over the course of time, “with firstyear students reporting more favorable views of Hawaiian students than those of fourth year students” (p. 467). Affiliation with other Hawaiian students was the only variable not affected in a negative direction. In fact, no significant differences were found for degree of affiliation of the Hawaiian subjects with other Hawaiian students. Ichiyama et al.’s results indicated that identification with a Hawaiian identity decreased as the length of association with non-Hawaiian students increased, simultaneously the Hawaiian students’ perception of negative appraisal by Mainland students increased while the their own self-apprasial decreased. successfully remoor. Ichiyama et al.’s conclusion is plagued by the inclusion of both ethnic and regional Hawaiians in the group of Hawaiians. As a resident of Hawaii and an ethnic Hawaiian, I can attest to the fallacy of such an action. Many of these individuals were of Japanese or Chinese descent (n = 82) and 14 were of some European origin. 27 In this instance it could be assumed that this is an instance where the subjects did not
Thus, they would not have had much of any “ethnic Hawaiian identity,” and what ethnic identity they possessed could be quite removed from a Hawaiian ethnic identity. Care needs to be taken regarding the ethnic composition of a sample, and equal caution should be exercised before making a generalization. Phinney and Alipuria (1996) conducted a survey of several ethnic groups at college, but unlike Ichiyama et al., they did not group all subjects under the single category of “minorities.” Rather, Phinney and Alipuria studied each group separately and made comparisons between them. Their study included members of four ethnic groups: 41 Asian-Americans, 31 African-Americans, 78 Mexican-Americans, and 46 European-Americans. The subjects were evaluated for ethnic identity and importance of self-rated identity domains. Ethnic identity was assessed with a Likert-type scale that asked respondents how different or how similar an item was to their personal experience (1-very different, 4-very similar). These items subdivided into two categories: ethnic identity search (6 items), e.g. “People who have gone through a period of serious questioning about ethnicity;” and ethnic identity commitment, e.g. “People who are very clear about their own ethnicity and what it means to them” (p. 175). Importance of identity domains was analyzed by asking subjects to rate (1-4, low to high) five identity domains: occupation, politics, religion, sex role, ethnicity and self-esteem. When compared across ethnic groups the importance of ethnic identity differed significantly. Ethnic identity was least important for the white students, while more important for the three other ethnic groups (African-Americans, Mexican-Americans Asian-Americans, listed in descending order of ethnic identity 28
importance). For all groups of students, ethnic identity rated fourth in overall importance, below religious identity and above political identity. Perhaps because the students were surveyed while in and scored highest on identity search, college, all groups rated occupational identity as most important. African-Americans European-Americans, and scored lowest. There were no significant differences in ethnic identity commitment scores between groups. Finally, a strong relationship was found between ethnic search/commitment and importance of the ethnic identity. “Those individuals who consider ethnicity important are more likely to have explored and made a commitment to an ethnic identity” (Phinney & Alipuria, 1996, p. 180) Unfortunately, as in Ethier & Deaux’s 1990 study, no baseline measure exists before college entrance and so no conclusion can be drawn as to whether attendance at a university decreases the importance of ethnic identity in comparison to pressing concerns about post-graduate plans. Saylor (1996) conducted a study with 114 freshman students at a small liberal arts college. The sample consisted of 17 African Americans, 24 Phinney’s MEIM Hispanics, 54 Asians, 15 mixed ethnic/racial Saylor used (containing three subscale heritages, 2 American Indians, and 2 “other”s.
Belonging, Ethnic Identity Achievement, Ethnic Behaviors), and
expanded the Ethnic Identity Achievement subscale to incorporate the stage-wide process of Cross (1995), and thus created measures for Preencounter, Immersion, and Internalization/Commitment. Encounter was not examined because of previous unreliability (Helms 1990). Students were also questioned about involvement in 29
campus ethnic organizations and activities. students’ friendships was measured.
Ethnic quality of the
Saylor also created four new
subscales to measure ethnic behaviors and practices (Ethnic Peopleethnic relationships, Ethnic Culture-involvement in ethnic culture,
Ethnic Media-involvement in ethnic media, Ethnic Social Actionimpact of ethnic organizations upon self-definition). In addition, a
Campus Adjustment scale was created to measure how ethnic group
membership affected adjustment, and a Support scale was also created to evaluate support derived from ethnic groups. Finally, a personal growth scale was included to measure how students assessed their personal growth and pursuit of new activities or meeting new people. Students in Saylor’s study were participants in a larger campus life study, and thus information was available from college entry and the end of the first year in college. By intercorrelating measures of ethnic identity, Saylor concluded that ethnic identity demonstrated considerable stability from arrival at college to midyear. A follow-up at the end of freshman year by Saylor and Aries (in press) found high consistency between strength of ethnic identity on arrival, midyear, and the end of the year. Saylor also reported that students who entered college with stronger ethnic identities became more involved in ethnic activities on campus than students who entered with weaker ethnic identities. These same students also had a higher percentage of This ethnic friends and a lower percentage of white friends.
contrasts with the students with weak ethnic identities, who were less involved with the campus ethnic arena, had more white friends, and had less ethnic friends. ethnicity had a significant Saylor also found that strength of and 30 positive relationship with
involvement in her measures of ethnic culture, ethnic media, ethnic relationships, and definition derived from ethnic groups. In regards to racial identity development, Saylor concluded that because subjects were simultaneously scoring high on multiple stages of racial identity, she was actually measuring a set of attitudes related with the stages, such that individuals can hold the values and beliefs of these stages at the same time. Commitment, while Immersion associated Preencounter with attitudes negatively associated with Immersion and Internalization/ positively Internalization/Commitment. likely to show Immersion The students with stronger ethnic and Internalization/Commitment
identities were less likely to display Preencounter attitudes and most attitudes. Saylor found that the most significant predictors of strength of ethnic identity were past ethnic involvement, percent of ethnic friends, and family participation in cultural practices. By the end of the year, family participation ceased to predict strength of ethnic identity, but the other two factors remained significant. Finally, it was found that as time in college increased, ethnic behavior became the most significant predictor, replacing the role of family and exceeding ethnic involvement (high school) and percent of ethnic friends. Finally, Saylor observed several increases in measures of the students’ ethnic identities. All students increased in their sense of belonging and commitment, which she interpreted as due to an enhanced salience of ethnicity which then strongly orients the students toward their ethnicity. Students with weak ethnic identities showed an increase in sense of belonging and commitment 31
to their ethnic group and increased exploration and achievement of their ethnic identity, but the students who began with strong ethnic identities displayed no significant change. All students reported that the ethnic organizations provided support, regardless of whether or not they were actually a member, but students who were members of an ethnic group scored higher on personal growth measures, e.g., met more people of different backgrounds and pursued new activities and interests. Self-Esteem and Ethnic Identity For many years traditional views held that minorities
internalized the negative attitudes held by the majority toward their group, and as a result had a poor consideration of their group and low self-esteem (Maldonado, 1975). However more recent studies
reveal the question of ethnic self-esteem to be far more complicated. Maldonado argues that the original studies used adolescent
minorities, therefore the negative self-identity was not due to a minority complex but the general upheaval of adolescence common to all youth. stage. “Negative self-images are very common during this
Thus, to measure the self-identity of adolescents of any
population and to apply the result as a general rule to the larger group is biased and inadequate” (p.619). Research now indicates either no negative impact of ethnic identity on self-esteem or the opposite, positive impact on selfesteem (Phinney, 1990, Phinney 1991). According to Phinney (1991), “Those individuals who distance themselves from the 32
negative aspects and relate to the positive characteristics of the group may have high self-esteem. Similarly, those who dismiss negative experiences as being based on stereotypes may not be personally affected” (p. 199) Phinney and Alipuria (1996) reported from their student survey of four ethnicities, that Asian-Americans “showed the lowest correlations between search scores and selfesteem” (p. 180). As Phinney and Alipuria’s research indicates, selfesteem can be unrelated to orthodox measures of ethnicity. Phinney & Rosenthal (1992) concur in a review of the literature, “Most recent studies have shown no relationship between ethnicity and self-esteem,”(p. 161) and add, “Research suggests that the consequences of minority group membership for an individual’s sense of self-worth are not due to minority status per se but are mediated by other factors, such as the gender role prescriptions in society” (p. 162) Thus, a negative self-image may be associated with a particular ethnic group, but the poor self-concept does not derive from being a minority but rather particular elements of that minority, such as restrictive female roles in traditional Hispanic culture (De Leon, 1995). At the opposite end of the spectrum, researchers have found ethnicity to positively impact self-esteem. Phinney (1989) studied 91 American-born minority high school students (14 Asian, 25 Hispanic, 27 White, and 25 Black). The subjects were interviewed about their ethnicity and given a questionnaire that included measure of self-esteem. a
Phinney (1989) reports, “those minority
adolescents who had explored and were clear about the meaning of their ethnicity (ethnic identity achieved) showed higher scores on 33
self-evaluation, sense of mastery, social and peer interactions, and family relations, compared to the diffusion and foreclosed
adolescents” (p. 47).
Poindexter-Cameron and Robinson (1997)
conducted a study examining the relationship between racial identity attitudes and self-esteem in 84 African-American college women. Their study employed the RIAS and the Rosenberg Self-
Esteem Scale to determine the correlation between racial identity and self-esteem. Their results revealed that the RIAS Internalization was significantly correlated with self-esteem (r = .45). They
concluded, “by the time they [the female subjects] develop internalization attitudes, they may have learned to appreciate themselves and honor their strengths” (p. 293). Ethier and Deaux (1990) also reported significant correlations between ethnic identity (ascertained from identity descriptions) and a collective self-esteem score (from the Collective Self-Esteem Scale), (r = .59). They too
concluded that high self-esteem was related to a higher rating of the importance of a Hispanic Identity.
Strength of Ethnic Identity
Ethnic identity is an intricate and manifold consideration, but even more elusive is the value or importance of ethnic identity to and within the overall identity. One can theoretically define ethnic identity, and even operationalize particular components of ethnic identity. However, the strength of ethnic identity is difficult to 34
evaluate; as previously delineated, researchers of ethnic identity have created a large number of measures to determine an individual’s relation to an ethnic ideal. ethnicity could be very important Most of these measures even if there is little include cultural involvement or internalization, but an individual’s manifestation of cultural behaviors. ethnicity or ethnic loyalty (1996). Phinney terms this symbolic Alternatively, if one’s ethnic
identity is strong it will not only be an obvious element, but will also contribute to their self-concept (Phinney 1996). Yet, if strength of ethnic identity is scarcely measurable, defining an achieved ethnic identity is much more difficult. In general identity theory there exist many conceptualizations of identity achievement, principally the Eriksonian model and Marcia’s (1994) model of identity statuses (foreclosed, moratorium, diffused, or achieved identity). Compared to traditional models of ego development, an achieved identity is also considered the most developed. According to Phinney (1991) individuals who identify as group members, evaluate their group positively, prefer their group membership, “are interested in, knowledgeable about, and committed to the group, and are involved in ethnic practices, they may be said to have high ethnic identity.” In contrast she writes, “when there is little ethnic interest, knowledge, commitment, or involvement, and negative evaluation of the group and of one’s membership in the group, then the ethnic identity could be called low, weak or diffuse” (p. 194) Phinney concludes that according to this model, “ethnic identity is seen as a continuum between these two points, and individuals may be located at some point from low to high” (p. 194). 35
Despite the large amount of literature that addresses the subject of ethnic identity, to the field is still relatively have new. Theoretical approaches ethnic identity developed
extensively since the ‘70’s (e.g, Cross’ seminal conceptualization of racial identity development), but the empirical research has only begun to proliferate in the last decade. Much of the difficulty lay in first defining the components of ethnic identity and then operationalizing the theoretical parts for empirical measure (e.g., Phinney’s MEIM). Yet even though a large body of empirical measures exist to address ethnic identity, the number of studies that implement these measures are few. Thus more studies are needed to provide a greater empirical understanding of ethnic identity. Furthermore, as the research extends, it has become clear that longitudinal data is required to evaluate effects of context and time. The longitudinal data is particularly important to accurately analyze the developmental aspects of ethnicity proposed by Cross (1995) and Phinney and Rosenthal (1992). Lastly, a few studies have examined the relationship between ethnicity and self-esteem, or ethnicity and academic performance, but there is still a great need to analyze the relationship between ethnicity and the more general existence as a member of the larger society.
The Present Study The present study is a continuation of work done by Saylor (1996). Her research dealt with ethnic students during their first year of college, while this study examines the same students two years later during their third year of college. This study endeavors to provide a greater understanding of ethnic identity across a large period of time and within a change in context (high school to college). The longitudinal data allows for an extensive analysis of ethnic identity development and its change over time. Finally, with the inclusion of measures for global identity factors, this study will also examine how students’ ethnicity impacts their general sense of well-being.
Participants Time 1 This study derives its subjects from a larger longitudinal student life study involving 422 students at a small northeastern liberal arts college in the United States. All students received a questionnaire in their fall registration packets during the beginning of college. A total of 375 students (89%) completed this survey. From these 375 students, 132 self-identified as a member of an ethnic minority group: 14 African Americans (4 men and 10 women), 24 Hispanics (13 men and 11 women), 69 Asians (29 men and 40 women), 21 mixed ethnic/racial heritage (10 men and 11 women), 2 American Indians (both female), and 2 were of “other” ethnic background (both male). The self-identified ethnic group was extracted and used for this study. Time Two In the second semester of freshman year, the minority were contacted to participate in another study of first-year students (see Saylor, 1996). From the original sample, a total of 110 students (83%, 43 men and 67 women) participated in the second study. The sample consisted of: 13 African Americans, 24 Hispanics, 54 Asians, 15 mixed ethnic/racial heritages, 2 American Indians, and 2 “other”s. To increase the number of black students, black first-year students who had not initially completed the questionnaire were contacted. Four were recruited in this manner, giving a sample of 38
114 students. Time Three In their third year of college all students who participated in the study at Time Two were requested to complete another survey (see Appendix A). Of the 114 students, five left the college before or during their sophomore year. participate in the survey. Out of remaining 109 students, 28 students were abroad during the fall or spring semester and did not Thus, the final sample consisted of 81 The ethnic composition students (74%) of the original sample.
consisted of: 41 Asians, 7 African-Americans, 15 Hispanics, 2 Indians, 10 Mixed, and 2 “other”s; 4 did not identify their ethnicity. 27 (33%) were male, and 50 (62%) were female (data was missing on 4, 5%), and the ages ranged from 18 to 21 years, with the mean age at 19.8 years. 6 (6%) listed their father’s highest education as some high school; 4 (5%), completed high school; 8 (10%), some college; 14 (17%) completed college; 44 (54%), graduate school, 5 did not answer (6%). In regards to mothers’ highest education, 2 (3%) said some high school; 7 (9%), completed high school; 11 (14%) some college; 30 (37%), completed college; 27 (33%), graduate school, 4 did not answer (5%). Procedure Students were first sent a recruitment letter (see Appendix B) requesting their assistance in completing a follow-up to the survey they participated in freshman year. Those who did not respond After that, the were sent an e-mail with the same information.
students who had not replied to the letter and e-mail were contacted 39
Students were informed that names would be separated As an
from the answers, and all data would be confidential. twenty-five dollars. Survey Administration
incentive for participation, a drawing was done for eight prizes of
The survey was maintained on the World Wide Web and all students who agreed to participate were given the URL (Web site address). No exact information was collected regarding how the students accessed the Web site, though it is conceivable they used their own personal computer or one available to the general public. The survey Web Site was available at any hour of the day during the months of December through February. The survey ran for such an extended period of time because of the large number of students abroad during the fall or going abroad during the spring. To ensure that random individuals could not access the site, a password was given to all participants, and only individuals with a password were able to complete the survey.
Strength of Cultural Background. Six variables measured in the middle of freshman year assessed the strength of students’ cultural backgrounds. Three variables – student involvement in high school ethnic organizations, parental involvement in ethnic organizations, and family participation in cultural traditions (e.g. ate ethnic foods, celebrated ethnic holidays) – were rated on a 9 point scale from 1 (not at all involved) to 9 (very much involved). Students were also asked about the percent of students in their high school and the 40
percent of people in their neighborhoods that were of their ethnicity. These two items were combined into a single measure – ethnic composition of background – because their correlation was very high (r = .72). Finally, students were asked to report the percent of their high school friends of their ethnicity.
Ethnic identity. Ethnic identity was rated at all 5 time periods using
9 items from the Multi-group Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) (Phinney, 1992). The items were scored on a 9 point scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 9 (strongly agree). The 9 items showed good reliability (at Time 2, alpha = .86, Time 3 alpha = .78). The MEIM includes 3 sub-scales (see Appendix C).
Affirmation and Belonging
contained 3 items and tapped
ethnic attitudes and a sense of belonging/attachment to one’s ethnic “I have a lot of pride in my ethnic group and its accomplishments.” “I am happy to be a member of the group that I belong to.” “I have a strong sense of belonging to my ethnic group.” This scale had an alpha coefficient of .76 (Time 2), and .83 (Time 3).
Ethnic Identity Achievement assessed exploration and a clear
understanding of the meaning of one’s ethnicity. The 4 items of this scale had an alpha coefficient of .73 (Time 2), and .72 (Time 3). Example include: “I have a clear sense of my ethnic background and what it means to me.” “I really have not spent much time trying to learn about my ethnic group membership.” 41
“I think a lot about how my life will be affected by my ethnic group membership.” “In order to learn more about my ethnic background, I have often talked to other people about by ethnic group.”
Ethnic Behaviors measured participation in ethnic behaviors
and practices. These two items correlated r = .49 (Time 2), and r = .40 (Time 3). “I have been active in ethnic organizations or social groups that include mostly members of my own ethnic group.” “I have a lot of pride in my ethnic group and its accomplishments.” Stages of ethnic identity. The Ethnic Identity Achievement sub-scale of the MEIM expanded by Saylor (1996) through the creation of new items in order to incorporate Cross’ (1995) model of ethnic identity development (used at Time 2 and Time 3). Students were asked to rate how much they agreed with the items (on a 9-point scale), and their attitudes were considered representative of each stage of ethnic identity development (see Appendix C).
Preencounter was assessed by a 13-item scale. Participants
who received higher scores had more negative attitudes toward their ethnic groups, a Eurocentric cultural outlook and did not think their ethnicity had very much effect on their lives. An example: “Overall my ethnic group membership has very little to do with how I feel about myself.” This scale had a reliability of alpha = .89 (Time 2), and alpha = .85 (Time 3).
inconsistency of this stage (see Helms, 1990). Helms asserts that, “it 42
phenomenon itself is not consistent (p.44).
Immersion The Immersion scale contained 9 items and
measured withdrawal from the dominant culture and intense involvement with members of one’s own ethnic group. A high score reflected strong agreement with Immersion attitudes. Examples: “Even if we don’t like the same things, I still feel more comfortable being with people of my own ethnic group.” “I have changed my dress, hair, or speech to better reflect my ethnicity.” The scale had an alpha coefficient of .76 (Time 2), and .82 (Time 3).
Internalization/commitment A 5-item scale examined
exploration of and committed to one’s ethnic identity. The scale had an alpha coefficient of .79 (Time 2), and .83 (Time 3). Examples include: “I have spent time trying to find out more about my ethnic group, such as its history, traditions, and customs.” “I have a clear sense of my ethnic background and what it means to me.”
Ethnic involvement on campus. Students were asked at Time 2, 3 whether they had joined an ethnic organization. If they had joined an ethnic organization, they were asked to report the percent of their friends that had also joined the same organization. At Time 2 and 3 students were asked the percentage of their current friends of their ethnicity and the percent of their current friends who were white. At Times 2 and 3 students were questioned about attendance at events sponsored by an ethnic organization on campus. The following scale was used: 1=never attended, 2=attended 1-3 times, 43
3=attended 4-6 times, 4=attended more than 6 times. Ethnic behaviors and practices. Students rated their involvement in ethnic behaviors and practices on 15 items divided into 4 scales developed by Saylor (1996). The items describe involvement in ethnic behaviors on a 9 point scale from 1 (does not describe me at all), to 9 (describes me very well). (See Appendix C).
Ethnic culture. Six items rated involvement in ethnic culture
and traditions, e.g. ethnic language, food, cultural traditions and customs, religion, holidays. Two items were dropped from the scale due to low item-scale correlations at Time 3. The alpha coefficient for this 4-item scale was .79 (Time 2), and .76 (Time 3), e.g., “Speak in ethnic language” “Participate in ethnic cultural traditions and customs”
Ethnic people. Three items measured involvement in ethnic
relationships, (e.g. having ethnic friends, dating or marrying someone of one’s ethnicity). The alpha coefficient was .82 (Time 2), and .83 (Time 3), e.g., “Have many ethnic friends” “Date people of your ethnicity” Ethnic media Two items assessed involvement with ethnic TV, radio, movies, books, and magazines. The correlation between these two items was .67 (Time 2), and .64 (Time 3). The two items are: “Listen/watch ethnic music, TV, radio, movies” “Read ethnic books and magazines”
Ethnic social action Two items tapped how involvement in
ethnic organizations and knowledge of their ethnic group affected self-definition. The correlation between these two items was r = .78 (Time 2), and .41 (Time 3). “Participate in ethnic social action and political groups” “Participate in ethnic cultural traditions and customs” Effects of membership in ethnic organizations. All participants were asked at Time 2 and 3 to rate on a 9-point scale developed by Saylor (1996) the extent to which membership and involvement in ethnic organizations “makes it easier or more difficult to” accomplish 14 different tasks. In this scale, a high score indicated greater difficulty. (See Appendix C). The items formed two subscales.
Campus Adjustment Scale Six items measured the extent to
which involvement in ethnic activities makes it easier or more difficult to feel part of the campus, make friends outside the group and join other extracurricular activities. The alpha coefficient for this scale was .80 (Time 2), and .76 (Time 3). Questions included: “Feel part of the campus as a whole.” “Make friends outside of the group.”
Support Scale Six tasks assessed how ethnic organizations
aided or impaired finding a “home” on campus, finding support when things are going badly, and maintaining ethnic identity. The alpha coefficient for this scale was .78 (Time 2), and .81 (Time 3). Examples include: “Find support when things are going badly.” “Handle your personal problems”
Self-Esteem. Six questions derived from Rosenberg(1979) assessed self-esteem at Time 3. All questions were phrased in the context of The alpha being a student. Responses were rated on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1=Completely Disagree, and 5=Completely Agree. coefficient for this scale was .90 (Time 3). Examples include: “I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with other students at Amherst.” “Compared with other students at Amherst, I feel that I have a number of good qualities.” Perceived Social Stress. Four questions were utilized at Time 2 and 3 to tap students’ sense of effectively controlling, or coping with, their lives. Students responded on a 5 point scale from 1=Never to 5=Very Often. Questions began with “in the past month, how often have you felt:” “that you were unable to control the important things in your life?” “that you were coping effectively with important changes in your life?”
These question were taken from a study by Cantor & Prentice (1996) designed to evaluate student life experience. The alpha coefficient for this scale was .73 (Time 2), and .86 (Time 3).
Personal growth Four items developed by Cantor & Prentice (1996) regarding personal growth were also included at Time 3. Students were asked to rate each item on a 5 point scale, with 1=Not at all, 5=A lot. All questions began with “Up to this point in your college career, how much do you feel you’ve:” “grown as a person” “gotten to know people from different backgrounds” “found a place at the college” and “pursued new activities and interests”
Importance of college identity. “How important is your identity as a member of the Amherst community?” This query was asked at Time 3 to assess how important the total construct of student was to a subject’s identity. This question was rated on the same 5-point scale as the Personal Growth questions. Self-rated skill levels. Students were asked to indicate skill level on a 9-point scale from: 1=Weak, to 9=Outstanding. surveyed: writing, science, math, athletics, analytical, and language, and art. Nine areas were compute, social,
Stability of Ethnic Identity Over Time
To examine the stability of ethnic identity over time, intercorrelations were conducted between scores on the subscales of the Multi-group Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) (Phinney, 1992). From entry to college to junior year , the subscale Affirmation and Belonging intercorrelated with r = .53, p < .001. The Ethnic Identity Achievement subscale (Phinney, 1992) intercorrelated highly between entry to college and junior year (r = .62, p < .001). Finally, the Ethnic Behaviors subscale inter-correlated over time with r = .46, p < .001. The high values of r indicate a high level of consistency and stability for these measures across periods of time, although ethnic behavior shows the least consistency over time. Effects of Strong/Weak Ethnic Identity over Time Students were split on the scale of Affirmation and Belonging into two groups. Those students with scores of “6” or above on a 9 point scale (with 9 as the most positive attitudes towards ethnicity) were considered to have a strong ethnic identity. Those students with scores below “6” were considered to have a weak ethnic identity. Two by two repeated measures analyses of variance were run comparing students with strong and weak ethnic identities upon entry to college (high/low on Affirmation and Belonging) on measures taken at entry to college and junior year . MEIM scales
There was a significant group difference on the Ethnic Identity Achievement subscale of the MEIM between those who entered college with strong and weak ethnic identities (as measured by scores on Affirmation and Belonging). The students with stronger ethnic identities had statistically higher achievement scores (M = 6.4), compared to the weak group (M = 4.6), F(1, 74) = 30.5, p < .001. However, no significant effects were seen across time (i.e, no significant increase or decrease of scores) and no significant interaction effects were observed. On the Ethnic Behaviors subscale of the MEIM, there was a significant group difference seen between those who entered college with strong identities(M = 6.5) and those who were weak (M = 4.5), with the strong group scoring higher than the weak on the measures of ethnic behaviors, F(1, 74) = 19.66, p < .001. No significant changes were seen across time, nor were any significant interactions effects. Finally, on the Affirmation and Belonging score those with strong ethnic identities upon entry to college displayed higher affirmation scores junior year (M = 7.4) than those with weak ethnic identities upon entry to college (M = 5.35), F(1, 74) = 68.88, p < .001. No statistical difference was found across time. There was a significant interaction (F(1, 74) = 4.66, p < .05) between strength of ethnic identity and time. The low affirmation group showed an increase in their scores from entry to college to junior year, while the high group remained essentially constant.
Affir Weak matio M n and Belon 5.0 ging M 5.7
Stron M g 7.5 M 7.3
SD 1.0 SD 1.4
SD 0.57 SD 1.7
Friendships During both entry to college and junior year, students in the strong affirmation group were found to have a higher percentage of friends of their ethnicity (M = 39.25) contrasted to the weak No affirmation group(M = 16.5), F(1, 74) = 12.68, p = .001.
significant changes were found across time, neither was a significant interaction observed. Inversely, the weak affirmation group displayed a significantly higher percentage of white friends (M = 57.9) compared to the strong affirmation group (M = 39.5), F(1, 73) = 7.30, p < .01 Participation in Ethnic Events 49
Attendance at ethnic events was compared across time, and between the strong/weak affirmation groups. A statistically significant difference was seen in number of ethnic events the strong affirmation group (M = 2.4) versus the weak affirmation group (M = .1.6). Those with stronger ethnic identities attended more events sponsored by ethnic organizations than those with weaker ethnic identities F(1, 66) = 9.7, p <.01). Furthermore, a significant effect of time was observed with both groups increasing in the mean number of events attended (F(1,66) = 238.3, p <.001). However those with weaker ethnic identities increased attendance far more dramatically than those with stronger ethnic identities, noted by a significant interaction between strength of ethnic identity and time (F(1,66) = 5.45, p < .05. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below.
Stron M g 1.3 M 3.4
SD 1.5 SD 0.8
Affir Weak matio M n and Belon 0.19 ging M 3.0
SD 0.51 SD 0.97
Measures of Personal Growth In response to the question of how much students felt they had “grown as a person,” the strong and weak ethnic identity
groups did not differ significantly. However, a significant change was found over time (F(1, 64) = 15.46, p < .001); both groups increased in their self-evaluation of the extent to which they had “grown as a person.”
Affir Weak matio SD n and M 0.77 Belon 4.1 ging SD 0.96 M 3.6
There was no significant
SD 0.79 SD 1.1
Stron M g 4.3 M 3.7
Those who entered college with strong and weak ethnic identities did not differ significantly on their perception of the extent to which they had “gotten to know people from different backgrounds,” nor were effects of time or interaction effects
observed. There was a significant difference in the strong (M = 3.6) and weak (M = 3.15) ethnic identity groups regarding their perception of the extent to which they had “found a place at the college,” (F(1, 64) = 4.43, p < .05). The strong ethnic identity 50
group reported having “found at place at the college” to a greater degree than the weak ethnic identity group, but no significant interaction or time effects were found. In regards to student’s perception of pursuit of new activities and interests, those who entered college with strong and weak ethnic identities did not differ significantly. There was a significant increase in pursuit of new activities and interests over time (F(1, 64) = 5.67, p < .05). There was no significant interaction observed. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below.
Stron M g 3.3 M 3.2
SD 1.1 SD 0.80
Affir Weak matio M n and Belon 3.2 ging M 3.6
SD 1.2 SD 1.1
Perception of Stress There were no group differences between the students with strong and weak ethnic identities in regards to their perceived levels of stress, neither did any time effects arise, nor any significant interaction effects.
Campus Adjustment Students with strong and weak ethnic identities did not differ significantly in the extent to which they believed ethnic activities aided adjustment to the general college environment. No effects of time or interaction effects were seen. Support There was no statistically significant difference between students with strong and weak ethnic identities in regards to the amount of support they believed was derived from involvement in ethnic organizations. No effects of time or interaction effects were seen. Ethnic Culture The strong ethnic identity group reported a greater involvement in ethnic culture and traditions (M = 6.9) than the weak ethnic identity group (M = 5.4), F(1,74) = 12.81, p = .001. No significant change in time was noted, nor was an interaction effect observed. Ethnic Social Action 51
The strong ethnic identity group reported a greater degree of involvement in ethnic organizations and influence of ethnic organization upon their self-definition (M = 6.1) than the weak ethnic identity group (M = 4.8), F(1,73)= 9.53, p < .01. A significant time-related decrease was noted for both groups F(1,73) = 11.7, p = .001. No interaction effect was seen.
Stron M g 4.3 M 3.7
Affir Weak matio SD n and M 0.77 Belon 4.1 ging SD 0.96 M 3.6
SD 0.79 SD 1.1
Ethnic Media The strong ethnic identity group displayed a greater extent of ethnic media involvement (M = 4.75) than the weak ethnic
identity group (M = 3.25), F(1,72) = 8.97, p < .01. There was a significant change over time, F(1,72) = 11.85, p = .001, with both groups increasing their involvement in ethnic media over time. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below.
Stron M g 4.5 M 5.0
SD 2.5 SD 2.3
Affir Weak matio M n and Belon 2.4 ging M 4.1
SD 1.5 SD 2.5
Ethnic People The strong ethnic identity group scored higher on importance of ethnic relationships (M = 5.6) than the weak ethnic identity group (M = 4.1), F(1,74) = 8.01, p <.01. An effect of time
was not seen, nor was an interaction effect observed. Ethnic Identity Development Preencounter- Statistically significant effects for preencounter attitudes were seen for strength of ethnic identity, time, and the interactions between the two variables. Those with weak ethnic identities scored lower on the preencounter scale (the low scores indicate less positive attitudes towards one’s ethnic group), compared with the strong affirmation group, who had less preencounter attitudes (F(1, 74) = 37.34, p < .001). Both 52
groups altered in preencounter attitudes over time (F(1, 74) = 3.99, p < .05). There was a significant interaction effect with the weak ethnic identity group displaying the greatest increase in positive attitudes towards their group, while the strong ethnic identity group reduced slightly (F(1, 74) = 15.84, p < .001). presented below.
Affir Weak matio M n and Belon 4.5 ging M 5.3
Means and standard deviations are
Stron M g 6.7 M 6.4
SD 1.2 SD 1.2
SD 0.92 SD 1.1
Immersion- The weak and strong ethnic identity groups differed statistically on immersion attitudes, with the weak reporting a lower degree of immersion (high scores indicate more negative attitudes towards and less immersion into one’s ethnic group), F(1, 74) = 6.35, p < .05) There was no significant change
over time in immersion scores, but the interaction effect was significant (F(1, 74) = 5.64, p < .05). The strong ethnic identity group remained constant while the weak ethnic identity group increased in immersion attitudes. Means and standard deviations are presented below.
Stron M g 6.9 M 7.0
SD 1.2 SD 1.3
Affir Weak matio M n and Belon 7.9 ging M 7.5
SD 0.7 SD 0.9
Internalization/Commitment The strong and weak affirmation groups did manifest a significant difference, with the strong group (M = 6.55) reporting a greater degree of internalization/commitment than the weak group
(M = 4.75; F(1,74) = 2.46, p < .001). interaction effects were observed.
However, no significant effects of time or
Membership in an Ethnic Organization Freshman Year Chi square analysis revealed a relationship between strength of ethnic identity and membership in ethnic organizations. Students with strong ethnic identities were more 53
likely to join an ethnic group, while students with weak ethnic identities were more likely not to join, X2 = 24.1, p < .0001.
Affir Weak Stron matio 56 n and 10 g Belon ging 17 24
Joined Did Not Join
Membership in an Ethnic Organization Junior Year Chi square analysis revealed no significant relationship between tendency to join an ethnic organization and strength of ethnic
Joined Did Not Join
Affir Weak matio Stron 28 n and 14 g Belon ging 27 7
Effects of Strong/Weak Identity junior year Students were split on the scale of Affirmation and Belonging, using junior year scores, into two groups. Those students with scores of “6” or above on a 9 point scale, with 9 as the most positive attitudes towards ethnicity, were considered to have a strong ethnic identity; scores below “6” were considered to indicate a weak ethnic identity. After division into two distinct groups, based on Affirmation and Belonging scores, students were compared on a number of dependent variables. MEIM When students were split on junior year Affirmation and Belonging scores and then compared via a t-test on Ethnic Identity Achievement subscale of the MEIM, those with stronger identities (M = 7.6, SD = .98) displayed higher achievement scores than the weak group (M = 4.6, SD = .97), t(79) = 11.88, p < .001. Those with stronger identities.(M = 6.3, SD = 1.9) scored higher on the Ethnic Behaviors subscale junior year than the weaker group (M = 4.7, SD = 1.7) t(79) = 3.45, p = .001. Friendship 54
There was a trend towards those with stronger ethnic identities junior year to have a greater percentage of ethnic friends (M = 35.1, SD = 30.2) than those with weak ethnic identities(M = 21.9, SD =23.8) t(79) = 1.79, p = .077. There was a statistically significant difference in number of white friends between the two groups, t(79) = 2.54, p < .05. The group with weaker ethnic identities had a significantly greater percentage of white friends (M = 56.7, SD = 33.3) than the group with stronger ethnic identities junior year (M = 37.9, SD = 27.2). Participation in Ethnic Events Students with strong and weak ethnic identities did not statistically differ in the number of ethnic events they attended junior year. Measures of Personal Growth All of the measures of personal growth showed no statistically significant differences between students with strong and weak ethnic identities: “grown as a person,” “found a place at the college,” “pursued new activities and interests,” or “gotten to know people from different backgrounds,” “identity as a member of the Amherst community,” and “very satisfied with my experience at Amherst.”
Perception of Stress There was no difference between students with strong and weak ethnic identities on their perceptions of stress junior year. Self-Esteem No significant differences were observed between the students with strong and weak ethnic identities on the measure of self-esteem.
Ethnic Identity Development Preencounter Students with strong ethnic identities (M = 6.7, SD = 1.0) differed significantly from those with weak ethnic identities (M = 4.6, SD = .80) on preencounter attitudes, with the weak ethnic identity group manifesting more preencounter attitudes (t(79) = 8.09, p < .001 Immersion Students with strong and weak ethnic identities failed to differ significantly on junior year immersion scores. Internalization/Commitment The strong ethnic identity group (M = 6.9, SD = 1.2) reported a greater degree of internalization/commitment junior year than the low affirmation group (M = 4.2, SD = 1.3), t(79) = 8.54, p < .001.
Support The strong ethnic identity group had no statistically significant differences from the weak ethnic identity group in regards to support they believed is derived from or related to activity in an ethnic group. Campus Adjustment The strong ethnic identity group reported that ethnic organizations helped them adjust less to the overall college environment (M = 5.1, SD = .93) than the weak ethnic identity group (M = 5.6, SD = .76), t(75) = 2.06, p < .05. Ethnic Media The strong ethnic identity group displayed an extremely higher involvement with ethnic media (M = 5.2, SD = 2.2) than the weak ethnic identity group (M = 2.9, SD = 2.2), t(77) = 4.09, p < .001. Ethnic People The strong ethnic identity group (M = 5.6, SD = 2.2) reported a greater degree of ethnic relationships than the weak ethnic identity group (M = 3.7, SD = 2.0), t(79) = 56
3.57, p = .001. Ethnic Culture The strong ethnic identity group had significantly higher score on participation in ethnic culture and traditions (M = 6.8, SD = 1.9) than the weak ethnic identity group (M = 5.4, SD = 1.6), t(79) = 2.91, p = .005. Ethnic Social Action The strong ethnic identity group described themselves as more involved in ethnic organizations (M = 6.7, SD = 2.1) than the weak ethnic identity group(M = 4.2, SD = 2.2), t(78) = 2.82, p < .01.
Self-Rated Skills There were no statistically significant differences between the strong ethnic identity group and the weak ethnic identity group on their skills in the following areas: science, math, athletics, computer, social, art, analytical, and language. However a statistically significant difference was seen in writing scores with the weak ethnic identity group reporting greater writing skill (M = 7.2, SD = 1.3) than the strong ethnic identity group (M = 6.3, SD = 1.7), t(79) = 2.04, p < .05.
Predictors of Junior Year Affirmation and Belonging Scores
To assess what variables can predict junior year scores on Affirmation and Belonging, regression analysis was conducted with Affirmation and Belonging as the dependent variable, with the following precollege predictor variables: parental involvement in an ethnic organization, ethnic composition of background, involvement in high school ethnic organizations, family participation in cultural traditions, and percentage of ethnic high school friends. The regression yielded the following regression 57
coefficients (see table below).
These six variables produced an adjusted r2 = .25,
indicating that together they explain 25% of the variance in Affirmation and Belonging. Three variables were significant predictors of Affirmation and Belonging: involvement in high school ethnic organizations, family participation in cultural traditions, and percentage of ethnic high school friends.
VARIABLE Parents involved in an ethnic Ethnic organization of composition in Involvement background ethnic high school Family organizationsin participationof Percentage cultural traditions ethnic high* p ≤ .05 school friends B -0.094 -0.002 0.168 0.254 0.014 BETA -0.16 -0.033 0.29 0.298 0.315 t -1.42 -0.218 2.73** 2.66** 1.99*
** p < .01 scores on
A second regression analysis was conducted with junior year
Affirmation and Belonging as the criterion to determine the extent to which the following measures of junior year ethnic behavior predicted concurrent Affirmation and Belonging scores: percentage of ethnic friends junior year, involvement in ethnic culture and traditions, membership in an ethnic group, attendance at ethnic events, involvement with ethnic media, ethnic people, and ethnic social action. These seven variables yielded an adjusted r2 = .34, indicating that together they predict 34% of the variance of Affirmation and Belonging. One variable was a significant predictor of Affirmation and Belonging: ethnic people.
VARIABLE % of ethnic friends Culture Ethnic Member of an ethnic group Attend ethnic events Media Ethnic Ethnic People Ethnic Social Action B -0.003 0.226 0.231 0.142 0.112 0.174 0.040 BETA -0.057 0.267 0.072 0.075 0.167 0.250 0.055 t 0.628 0.049 0.478 0.536 0.171 0.058* 0.730
* p ≤ .05 58
Effects of Ethnic Group Membership Subjects were then divided into four groups on the basis of their membership status in an ethnic organization freshman and junior year . Those who were members both years composed Group 1 (n = 6), Group 2 (n = 28) was made of students who were only members junior year , those students who were members only freshman year were Group 3 (n = 23), and Group 4 (n = 19) was those who were never members. After this division one-way analyses of variance were performed comparing these four groups on junior year variables. MEIM Scales Affirmation and Belonging- The four groups differed significantly from each other on their scores of Affirmation and Belonging , F(3,72) = 3.50, p = .02. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below. Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests revealed that only two groups differed significantly from each other. Students who were only members junior year had higher Affirmation and Belonging scores (M = 7.6) than students who were members only freshman year (M = 6.2), p = .05.
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 7.1 7.6 6.2 6.8 Standard Deviation 1.5 1.2 1.7 1.8
Ethnic Identity Achievement- Membership patterns strongly affected junior year Ethnic Identity Achievement scores, F(3, 72) = 7.39, p <.001. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below.
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Never Only 5.9 6.8 4.9 5.9
Standard 1.5 Deviation 1.1 1.6 1.6
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests found the students who were never members had higher Ethnic Identity Achievement scores (M = 5.9) than the students who were members only freshman year (M = 4.9), p = .05. However students who were only members junior year had higher Ethnic Identity Achievement scores (M = 6.8) than both students who were members only freshman year (M = 4.9) and students who were never members (M = 5.9), p = .05.
Ethnic Behaviors- Again, membership patterns strongly affected junior year
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 6.6 7.5 4.3 5.2 Standard Deviation 1.3 1.2 1.4 1.8
Ethnic Behavior scores, F(3, 72) = 23.4, p < .0001. Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests revealed several groups with statistically significant differences. Students who were never members scored higher on Ethnic Behavior (M = 5.2) than students who were members only freshman year (M = 4.3), p = .05. Students who were members both years scored higher on Ethnic Behavior (M = 6.6) than both students who were members only freshman year (M = 4.3) and students who were never members (M = 5.2), p = .05, but students who were only members junior year scored higher on Ethnic Behavior (M = 7.5) than than both students who were members only freshman year (M = 4.3) and students who were never members (M = 5.2), p = .05. 60
Ethnic CultureMembership patterns strongly affected junior year involvement in Ethnic Culture, F(3, 72) = 4.58 p = .005. below.
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 6.5 7.1 5.3 6.8 Standard Deviation 1.1 1.8 1.7 1.7
Means and standard deviations are presented in the table
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests found students who were members only freshman year to have lower Ethnic Culture scores (M = 5.3) than both students who were only members junior year (M = 7.1) and students who were never members (M = 6.8), p = .05. Ethnic People Membership patterns strongly affected junior year students’ involvement ethnic relationships, F(3,72) = 9.43, p < .0001.
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 6.1 6.4 3.6 5.2 Standard Deviation 2.1 1.9 1.6 2.2
Means and standard deviations are
presented in the table below. Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests revealed that students who were members only freshman year had lower Ethnic People scores (M = 3.6) than all other groups, p = .05: students who were members both years (M = 6.1), students who were only members junior year (M = 6.4), and students who were never members (M = 5.2). 61
Also, students who were never members were statistically lower on this measure of ethnic relationships (M = 5.2) than students who were only members junior year (M = 6.4). Ethnic MediaMembership patterns strongly affected junior year involvement in ethnic media, F(3,70) = 6.33, p <.001. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below.
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 4.7 6.0 3.3 4.9 Standard Deviation 1.8 2.3 2.0 2.1
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests indicated that students who were members only freshman year had significantly lower ethnic media involvement (M = 3.3) than the students who were only members junior year (M = 6.0) or students who were never members (M = 4.9), p = .05. Ethnic Social ActionMembership patterns strongly affected measured effects of ethnic organizations on individual self-definition junior year , F(3,71) = 7.81, p = .0001. Means and standard
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 5.9 6.6 4.2 4.7 Standard Deviation 2.2 2.0 1.8 1.7
deviations are presented in the table below.
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests revealed that the students who were only members junior year reported greater influence of ethnic organizations (M = 6.6) than either students who were members only freshman year (M = 4.2) or students who 62
were never members (M = 4.7), p = .05. Campus AdjustmentMembership patterns in an ethnic organization did not significantly affect subjects’ sense of the extent to which ethnic organization helps with adjusting to the overall college environment. Support Membership patterns in an ethnic organization did not significantly affect students’ appraisal of support derived from or related to their activity in an ethnic group. Ethnic DevelopmentPreencounterMembership patterns strongly influenced junior year Preencounter scores, F(3,72) = 5.62, p = .002. presented in the table below.
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 6.2 6.8 5.4 6.1 Standard Deviation 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.3
Means and standard deviations are
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests found the students who were only members junior year to have significantly lower Preencounter attitudes (M = 6.8) than students who were members only freshman year (M = 5.4), p = .05. Low scores indicate less positive attitudes towards one’s ethnic group. Immersionbelow. Membership patterns strongly affected junior year Immersion
scores, F(3,72) = 5.95, p = .001. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 7.3 6.4 7.6 7.6
Standard Deviation 0.93 1.5 0.88 0.97
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests indicated that the students who were only members junior year were more immersed in their ethnicity (M = 6.4) than the students who were members only freshman year (M = 7.6) or the students who were never members (M = 7.6), p = .05. Internalization/Commitment- Membership patterns strongly influenced junior year Internalization/Commitment scores, F(3, 72) = 8.09, p = .0001. Means and standard
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 6.0 7.2 5.2 6.3 Standard Deviation 1.7 1.2 1.6 1.5
deviations are presented in the table below. Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests found the students who were members only freshman year to score lower on the measure of internalization/commitment (M = 5.2) than both the students who were only members junior year (M = 7.2) and the students who were never members (M = 6.2), p = .05. In addition, the students who were never members (M = 6.2) scored significantly lower than the students who were only members junior year (M = 7.2), p = .05 Measures of Personal Growth One-way analyses found no statistically significant differences by group membership on all the measures of personal growth: “grown as a person,” “found a place at the college,” “pursued new activities and interests,” or “gotten to know people from different backgrounds,” “identity as a member of the Amherst community,” and “very 64
satisfied with my experience at Amherst.” Perception of Stress Membership patterns produced no statistically significant differences in the perception of stress junior year . Self-Esteem Membership patterns produced no statistically significant differences in the subjects’ self-esteem. Participation in Ethnic Events Membership patterns strongly affected the number of ethnic events attended junior year, F(3,72) = 5.90, p = .001. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below.
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 3.5 3.7 2.8 3.2 Standard Deviation 0.84 0.53 0.98 0.76
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests found the students who were only members junior year to attend more ethnic events (M = 3.7) than the students who were members only freshman year (M = 2.8) or the students who were never members (M = 3.2), p = .05.
Friendships Membership patterns strongly affected the percentage of friends of the student’s own ethnicity junior year, F(3,72) = 4.2, p < .01. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below.
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 21.7 45.0 19.0 29.8
Standard Deviation 12.9 32.6 25.5 24.0
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests found the students who were members only freshman year to have a lower percentage of friends of their own ethnicity (M = 18.9) than the students who were only members junior year (M = 45.0), p = .05. Membership patterns strongly influenced the percentage of white friends junior year, F(3,72) = 5.62, p = .002. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below.
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 34.2 28.9 60.0 46.4 Standard Deviation 29.7 26.0 31.4 24.1
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests found that students who were only members junior year had a significantly lower percentage of white friends (M = 28.9) than the students who were members only freshman year (M = 60.0) or the students who were never members (M = 46.4), p = .05. Furthermore, the students who were members both years had a lower percentage of white friends (M = 34.2) than the students who were members only freshman year (M = 60.0), p = .05. Self-Rated Skills Membership patterns had no influence on the following self-rated skills: writing, science, math, athletics, compute, social, analytical, and language. However membership patterns did affect the self-rated skill “Art,” F(3, 72) = 3.52, p =.02. Means and standard deviations are presented in the table below. 66
Mean Both Years Jr. Yr. Only First Yr. Only Never 2.2 5.3 4.9 5.1
Standard Deviation 1.1 2.2 2.3 2.3
Post hoc comparisons using Fisher LSD tests found the students who were members both years to have a lower “Art” score (M = 2.2) than all other students.
Stability of Ethnic Identity
In this study Phinney’s (1992) Affirmation and Belonging subscale was utilized as the index of subjective sense of ethnic membership. Phinney created this subscale to measure, “ethnic pride, feeling good about one’s background and being happy with one’s group membership, as well as feelings of belonging and attachment to the group” (p. 159). The data reveals that a high sense of ethnic belonging or strong ethnic identity relates to a high degree of ethnic identity achievement and high participation in ethnic behaviors and practices. Entry Affirmation and Belonging scores and junior year Affirmation and Belonging scores were significantly correlated (r = .53), indicating that the measures of affirmation and belonging or sense of ethnic membership showed stability across time. Students with strong or weak ethnic identities did not change much in their levels of ethnic identity achievement or participation in ethnic behaviors. This stability of an internalized ethnic concept mirrors the findings of Ethier and Deaux (1994), who found high levels of stability in students’ ethnic concept. This also supports the earlier findings of Saylor and Aries (in press), who reported high stability of ethnic identity over a nine month period. However, the observed stability contradicts the findings of Ichiyama et al. (1996), who reported a decrease in the identification of students from 68
Hawaii as Hawaiian over time in college. Predictors of Strength of Ethnic Identity This study found that background variables predict a small amount of the variance for junior year ethnic affirmation and belonging. Specifically, six variables (parental involvement in an ethnic organization, ethnic composition of background, involvement in high school ethnic organizations, family participation in cultural traditions, and percentage of ethnic high school friends) accounted for 25% of the variance in affirmation and belonging. school ethnic organizations, family participation in Of these, cultural three variables were significant predictors: involvement in high traditions, and percentage of ethnic high school friends. However, background variables did not predict junior year affirmation and belonging as strongly as did college variables from junior year. Seven variables (percentage of ethnic friends junior year, involvement in ethnic culture and traditions, membership in an ethnic group, attendance at ethnic events, involvement with ethnic media, ethnic people, and ethnic social action) accounted for 34% of the variance of junior year affirmation and belonging. The strength of campus variables as more significant predictors for junior year affirmation and belonging is consistent with Saylor and Aries (in press). Their data indicated that by the end of freshman affirmation and year background variables did not predicate belonging as well as did the campus variables. Strength of Ethnic Identity 69
The Affirmation and Belonging subscale was used to examine how individuals with a positive subjective sense of ethnic membership or strong ethnic identity (indicated by a high score on Affirmation and Belonging) compared to individuals with a less positive subjective sense of ethnic membership or weak ethnic identity (indicated by a low score on Affirmation and Belonging) in their adjustment to a predominantly white college. While the strong ethnic identity group remained stable over time in their affirmation and belonging of their ethnic group, there was a significant interaction between time and strength and ethnic identity. By junior year the weak ethnic identity group increased in affirmation and belonging, though the ethnic identity group remained constant. This interaction pattern was repeated throughout most of the measures of ethnic identity – the strong ethnic identity group remained stable in the measures of ethnicity, while the weak ethnic identity group increased on the measures of ethnic identity. Within the measures of ethnic development, the students with weak ethnic identities showed a large decrease in Preencounter attitudes, and a simultaneous increase in Immersion attitudes. Thus, by junior year the weak ethnic identity group displayed a reduction in negative attitudes toward their own ethnic group and an increased interest and involvement in their ethnic group. reported an increase in their increase. Further evidence of their increased ethnic involvement is seen in number of ethnic events attended over time. Although initially 70 Also, while both groups involvement in ethnic media, the
students with weak ethnic identities displayed the far greater
the students with strong ethnic identities attended more ethnic events than the students with weak ethnic identities, by junior year the difference between the two groups disappeared, and both the students with strong ethnic identities and the students with weak ethnic identities attended a statistically equal number of events. Secondly, though the mean number of events attended by both groups also increased with time, the students with weak ethnic identities showed the greatest increase. Finally, chi square analysis of the relationship between strength of ethnic identity and tendency to join an ethnic organization revealed that during freshman year those students with strong ethnic identities were most likely to join while the students with weak ethnic identities were most likely not to join (this relationship was highly significant, X2 = 24.1, p < .0001). However, by junior year the relationship was no longer significant. The strong ethnic identity group was equally divided in terms of having joined or not joined an ethnic organization, while in contrast most of the weak ethnic identity group had joined an ethnic organization junior year. Cross’ (1995) theories of development may help explain the increasing strength of ethnic identity for the weak group, for he posits that individuals progressively move from a low, negative ethnic stage to a more positive ethnic stage. Thus in this study, the students who initially displayed strong ethnic identities may have entered college with an internalized or committed ethnic identity. The high Internalization/Commitment scores of this group freshman year supports this reasoning, and therefore it would follow that having entered at the apex of ethnic development this group would naturally show no increase in ethnic measures over time. Also Cross (1995) proposes that people who have internalized their ethnicity 71
will also be highly involved their ethnic group, hence the high scores of the strong ethnic identity group on all other ethnic measures. However, given that the weak ethnic identity group showed the highest Preencounter scores, they may have entered college with mostly negative attitudes toward their ethnic group. Thus, the weak ethnic identity group scored lowest on all the measures of ethnicity. Yet, as Cross (1995) would suggest, in a developmental scheme the students with weak ethnic identities should move towards a positive ethnic identity over time. Certainly, the increase in Internalization/Commitment scores of the weak ethnic group would support the idea that these students are moving upward in their sense of ethnicity. of ethnic identity. Strength of ethnic identity was related to ethnic behaviors and practices. When compared via Saylor’s (1996) scales of Ethnic Behaviors and Practices (i.e., involvement with Ethnic Culture, Ethnic People, Ethnic Media, and Ethnic Social Action), the students with strong ethnic identities always scored significantly higher than the students with weak ethnic identities. This pattern was observed whether the freshman year or junior year Affirmation and Belonging scores were used, suggesting that one’s sense of ethnic membership continuously affects these other variables. The students with strong ethnic identities demonstrated greater involvement in areas of ethnic culture and ethnic media, a higher value placed on ethnic relationships, and placed more influence on membership in ethnic organizations in their individual self-definition. 72 These results are Finally, by junior year the students with weak ethnic identities showed a positive increase on most other measures
consistent with Saylor’s (1996) findings two years earlier.
results are similar to the findings of Ethier & Deaux (1994), who found that students with the strongest sense of ethnic identity were also the students who appeared most ethnic in other domains (e.g., involvement in ethnic activities). Strength of ethnic identity was also related to stages of ethnic identity development. Preencounter, In terms of developmental stages – i.e. and Internalization/Commitment Immersion,
attitudes (Cross, 1995) – the students who had a more positive sense of their ethnicity upon entry to college showed less Preencounter attitudes, and more Immersion and Internalization/Commitment attitudes in comparison with the students who had a less positive sense of their ethnicity. The differentiation by strength of ethnic identity in developmental attitudes suggests that students with a strong, positive sense of their ethnicity will have more positive attitudes toward their group (low Preencounter scores), more involvement with their ethnic group (high Immersion), and a greater sense of commitment to their ethnic group (high Internalization/ Commitment). Finally, students with strong ethnic identities junior year also showed less Preencounter attitudes and greater Internalization/Commitment than those with weak ethnic identities. The data is consistent with the earlier findings of Saylor and Aries (in press) who also observed the least Preencounter attitudes and greatest Immersion and Internalization attitudes among the students who entered college with the strongest ethnic identities. The students with strong ethnic identities also had a greater percentage of ethnic friends than the students with weak ethnic 73
identities, and simultaneously showed a lower amount of white friends than the students with weak ethnic identities. These percentages did not change over time. This is similar to the findings of Ichiyama et al. (1996), who found that though other variables altered with time, group affiliations did not change with length of time in school.
Growth Self-Esteem and Well-Being On measures of personal growth the students with strong and weak ethnic identities failed to differ significantly except for one measure, the students who entered college with strong ethnic identities reported they had “found a place at the college,” more than the students with weak ethnic identities. However, by junior year this difference between students with strong and weak ethnic identities was no longer present. Saylor and Aries (in press) also found that by the end of the first year, the strong and weak ethnic identity groups did not differ in their assessments of growth as a person, finding a place at the college, pursuit of new activities or interests, or meeting people from different backgrounds. Thus, the two groups were virtually identical in how much they believed themselves to have grown, pursued new activities and interests, met people from different backgrounds, and ultimately found a place at the college. The groups did not differ in the importance they attributed to their identity as a member of the college community, nor did they differ on their satisfaction with their collegiate experience. perception Sense of ethnic membership had no connection to of stress levels during 74 freshman or junior year,
suggesting that ethnic identity does not buffer against nor augment students’ experience of stress. The students with strong ethnic identities were no different than the students with weak ethnic identities when rating their selfesteem, suggesting one’s sense of ethnic membership, either high or low, is not related to one’s general level of self-esteem. This is consistent with the findings of Phinney and Alipuria (1990) who observed a lack of relationship between ethnic search scores and self-esteem. In addition, this supports the conclusion of Phinney and Rosenthal (1992) that self-esteem is not related to minority status per se, but rather to other factors, like gender roles that are characteristic of a minority group. However, the lack of relationship in this study between selfesteem and ethnic identity does not agree with the findings of other researchers such as Poindexter-Cameron and Robinson (1997) or Ethier and Deaux (1990) who did find a significant relationship between sense of ethnicity and self-esteem. Some of the differences between studies may lie in differences in the ethnic composition of the sample. Phinney and Alipuria (1996) had four different ethnic groups, and found the least relationship between ethnicity and selfesteem in the Asian students. Poindexter-Cameron and Robinson Thus, (1997) studied only black female students while Ethier and Deaux (1990) derived their sample from Hispanic students. relationships might be seen if this study was able to separately analyze the various ethnic groups contained in the total sample. However, because of the small number of subjects in each individual ethnic group, this study was unable to differentiate between ethnic groups. 75
Finally, strong and weak ethnic identity groups showed no statistically significant differences in their skills (math, science, athletics, computers, social, art, analytical, and language). The one anomaly was writing skills, in which the students with weak ethnic identities reported higher skill in writing than the students with strong ethnic identities. The significance of this is questionable; could arise purely from chance. since only one out of nine skills displayed a difference, it seems that this difference in writing skill While this study found no evidence for a relationship between ethnic identity and academic performance, other researchers have found connections between the two. Sellers, Chavous, and Cooke (1998) observed a significant relationship between black students’ sense of racial identity and their academic performance (measured in cumulative GPA). Namely, they observed that students with positive attitudes towards their race showed higher GPA’s than students with negative attitudes toward their race. One possibility for the difference between Sellers et al. and this study is the choice of measure for academic performance. evaluations used in this study. Sellers et al. used a more objective criterion (grades) for academic performance than the selfHowever, though grades were not solicited in this study, it is difficult to believe that students who are doing poorly in an academic area would rate themselves well in such an area, and vice versa, students who academically excel in a subject should not rate themselves poorly in such an area. Membership in Ethnic Organizations Membership status in an ethnic organization provides a measure of ethnic behavior. Most ethnic organizations at the 76
college host a variety of ethnic activities, from cultural dinners or demonstrations to ethnic movie nights or workshops. Thus, an individual’s involvement in an ethnic organization from freshman to junior year provides an index of his or her commitment to ethnic activities at the college. Four groups were created on the basis of membership status in an ethnic organization freshman and junior year. One group of students (n = 6) were members both years, a second group (n = 28) was made of students who were members by junior year, those students who were members only freshman year were the third group (n = 23), and the final group of 19 students were never members. Effects on Ethnic Factors Those who initially joined an ethnic organization freshman year, but were no longer members junior year, scored lowest on all the measures of ethnicity junior year. On the MEIM, these students displayed the lowest degree of affirmation and belonging, the lowest level of ethnic identity achievement, and the lowest participation in ethnic behaviors. This suggests that students who joined an ethnic organization only during freshman year and then left were also students who either minimally identified with their ethnic group (e.g., their Affirmation and Belonging scores are lowest) or possessed negative attitudes toward their ethnic group, which then inhibit ethnic membership. their Preencounter scores. freshman indicating year a had they the negative The latter hypothesis is supported by Students who were members only most attitude negative towards the Preencounter one’s ethnic of amount scores, group. ethnic
immersion and internalization/commitment to their ethnic group. On the measures of Ethnic Behaviors and Practices, the students who were members only freshman year reported less involvement with ethnic events. culture, ethnic people, ethnic media, and ethnic organizations junior year. They also attended the fewest of ethnic In terms of friendships, the students who were members Clearly the only freshman year had the highest percentage of white friends and the lowest percentage of friends of their ethnicity. students who were members only freshman year are the least “ethnic” group, as demonstrated by their low scores across all ethnic measures. In comparison to Ethier and Deaux (1994), these students resemble the students whose involvement in ethnic activities decreased over time and were simultaneously matched by a decrease in ethnicity. In sharp contrast, the students who were not members freshman year, but had become members by junior year, consistently scored highest on the various junior year ethnic measures and thus appeared most “ethnic.” These students displayed the highest levels of ethnic affirmation and belonging, the highest degree of ethnic identity achievement, and the most involvement in ethnic behaviors. These students seem to have the most positive attitudes and the greatest degree of involvement in their ethnic group. Certainly, their Preencounter scores are lowest, further supporting the notion that this group is composed of the students who have the most positive attitudes towards their ethnic group. Additionally, their Immersion and Internalization/ Commitment scores are the highest, again suggesting the students who were not members freshman year, but had become members by 78
junior year are most involved with and committed to their ethnic group. These students also showed the highest degree of involvement in ethnic culture, ethnic media, ethnic people, and ethnic social organizations. The students who were not members freshman year, but had become members by junior year attended more events than any other group. Finally, members of this group had the highest percentage of ethnic friends, while displaying the lowest percentage of white friends. Thus on these measures of ethnicity, the data support the conclusion that students who initially do not join an ethnic group, but do so eventually, are also students who become most grounded in their ethnicity. However, the data from this study is not entirely in agreement with Ethier and Deaux’s (1994) observation that students with strong ethnic identities immediately grounded themselves in ethnic organizations. Possibly had Ethier and Deaux extended their study beyond one year, they may have seen a similar pattern. Lastly, the students who were members both years and the students who were never members, were statistically undifferentiable from each other. On all the junior year measures of ethnic identity, these two groups scored above the students who were members only freshman year but scored below the students who were not members freshman year, but had become members by junior year. These two groups had statistically similar levels of affirmation and belonging towards their ethnic group, and identical levels of ethnic identity achievement. Furthermore, their degree of involvement was alike in ethnic culture, ethnic relationships, and ethnic media, and ethnic social organizations. On the measures of racial development, both groups displayed the same level of 79
The students who were members both years and the Finally, both
students who were never members had similar percentages of ethnic friends and similar percentages of white friends. groups were statistically identical in the number of events they attended junior year. Such a pervasive similarity in ethnic measures regardless of membership pattern suggests that contrary to Ethier and Deaux’s (1994) theory of remooring, a degree of involvement in collegiate ethnic organizations is not always related to how “ethnic” a person is. It may be that for some individuals (students who were members junior year, but not freshman year; and students who were members both years) ethnic organizations are crucial to maintaining the other ethnic domains (e.g., involvement in ethnic media or ethnic affirmation and belonging), but for other students (those who were never members), ethnic organizations are not necessary to maintain their ethnic identity. Because Ethier and Deaux’s study covered only one year, they were unable to observe the groups seen in this study. For instance, the students who were members only freshman year would have been mixed with all the other students who were active freshman year, thus the combination of these students freshman would score higher on ethnic measures than students who were never members. It is only across years that the students who were never members emerge higher on ethnic measures than the students who were members only freshman year and equal to the students who were members both years Secondly, the fact that students who were members both years were statistically identical to students who were never members, but below the students who were members junior 80
year, but not freshman year, suggests that even when consistently involved in an ethnic organization an individual is not always the most ethnic.
Effect of Ethnic Behavior on General Identity Factors Patterns of membership in ethnic organizations over time were not significantly related to the measures of personal growth. All groups equally felt they had found a place at the college, pursued new activities and interests, and met people from different backgrounds. However, Saylor and Aries (in press) did observe that students who became members of ethnic organizations by the end of the year were more likely than non-members to report growing as a person, meeting people from different backgrounds, and pursuing new activities and interests. It is possible that while membership in an ethnic organization has a significant effect on personal growth freshman year, by junior year membership patterns no longer exert significant influence on the students’ personal growth. Furthermore, patterns of membership in ethnic groups had no relation to students’ sense of satisfaction with their college experience, nor was there any connection to how they rated their identity as a member of the college. None of the groups differed on their perceptions of stress, their self-esteem, or self-rated skills. However, for self-rated skills there was one apparently random difference between the students 81
who were members both years and all other students in their rating of artistic skill. The students who were members both years rated themselves lower on artistic skill than all other groups, but because this was the only occurrence out of nine skills (and not even the same as comparison by strength of ethnic identity which found writing to be significantly different) it is most likely that the difference is not related to ethnic participation but merely a chance occurrence.
Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research Ethnicity can be broken into three principal parts: cultural attitudes, values, and behaviors; a subjective sense of group membership; of the first and the experience factors of of minority status (e.g., discrimination or prejudice). This study provides an understanding two ethnic identity (cultural behaviors/attitudes, and subjective sense of ethnic membership). The data in this study does not address the third component, the experience of minority status. The measure of threat that was used freshman year by Saylor and Aries (in press) was found to be unreliable junior year, and Cross’s (1995) Encounter stage (characterized by a realization of one’s disparate minority status compared to the majority) has been empirically elusive (Helms, 1990), and thus was never used in this study. Therefore this study does not give an indication of how ethnic students felt as minorities or how their minority status altered their college experience. This 82
question could be addressed by comparing the minority students with the majority white students. range of this study.1 Perhaps the largest limitation of this study is its treatment of all ethnic groups together as minority students. Most of the studies reviewed in the introduction and cited in the discussion either focused on one ethnic group (Ethier & Deaux, 1994 used only Hispanic subjects) or separately analyzed the different ethnic groups (e.g, Phinney & Alipuria, 1990 considered four distinct ethnic groups separately). Many of the differences between findings in this study and the findings of other studies may be due to this study’s inclusion of all ethnic groups in one statistical category of minority or ethnic students. Phinney and Alipuria (1990) did observe differences in the ethnic identities of different ethnic groups, but when this study combined all groups together it lost the ability to observe these differences. For example, if it is true that Asian-Americans show less association between ethnic identity and self-esteem (Phinney & Alipuria, 1990) than African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, then when summing their responses together, the differences between groups is lost and a new middle score is obtained. Therefore, ideally this study would benefit from a much larger student sample, one that would allow distinct treatment of each ethnic group, and so avoid any statistical complications of combining disparate ethnic groups. Secondly, no comparisons were performed between the ethnic students in this study and the majority white students at the same However, this was beyond the
The students in this study are part of a larger study involving all students in the class of 2000 at Amherst and Yale. Comparisons between minority students and white students will be a part of that study.
By comparing the minority and majority students, For example, this study can
relationships between ethnicity and self-esteem or ethnicity and academic capability becomes clearer. only conclude that within ethnic groups, there is no difference between those who have strong ethnic identities or are highly involved in ethnic groups and those with weak ethnic identities or are minimally involved with ethnic groups. the majority students. Thirdly, this study’s sample comes from an extremely Fifty-four stratified student body of a highly selective college. However, this study cannot address the impact of minority status when contrasted with
percent of the students in this study reported their fathers’ highest educational level was graduate school, and 33% also reported graduate school as their mothers’ highest educational level. Both Saylor and Aries (in press) and Ethier and Deaux (1994) also noted the limited application of their study because they too used a sample unrepresentative of most minorities. In particular, this study derives its sample from Saylor and Aries (in press), and they observed that over 50% of the students attended predominantly white high schools, lived in predominantly white neighborhoods, and came from families that were middle or upper-middle class. Therefore, even before entering college, these students were probably well situated for success. Favorable predisposition raises the interesting question of rather than ethnicity affecting something like self-esteem or sense of competency, might not a strong selfesteem or academic ability affect sense of ethnicity? Without comparisons at other, preferably public, institutions caution must be taken in generalizing these findings to all minority students. 84
Lastly, this study cannot answer many questions simply because a lack of appropriate measures. For instance, it was only after the survey was administered that the fascinating parallels were observed between both students years and who the were members who of were ethnic never organizations students
members. Though one might expect the students who were never members to have the lowest ethnic scores, they were similar to students who were members both years. Also in need of clarification is the behavior of students who were members only freshman year. Why these group tendencies were observed could be further established by detailed interviews about life as a student and one’s ethnic development over time.
CONCLUSION This study provides support for the developmental theories of ethnicity, for it was observed that students with weak ethnic identities progressively increased on ethnic measures over a three year period. Also, when an ethnic identity is achieved it tends to remain so; the strong ethnic identity group did not vary on ethnic 85
measures across time. affirmation scores and
This study also indicates that different involvement in ethnic behaviors and
components of ethnic identity relate highly to each other (e.g., practices), but this study did not find a relationship between strength of ethnic identity and more general identity factors (e.g., affirmation scores and self-esteem). Secondly, this study finds a relationship between involvement in ethnic organizations and other ethnic factors like developmental attitudes. Furthermore, this relationship is not linearly related to Thus, while students who were membership patterns over time.
members both years score high on ethnic measures, they were statistically identical to students who were never members. Both of these groups scored higher on ethnic measures than the students who were members only freshman year. However, it was students who were members junior year, but not freshman year that scored the highest on all ethnic measures. factors like academic competency. Again, involvement in ethnic organizations was seen to have no relationship with general identity
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Black Identity Change. In Harris, H.H. et. al Racial and Ethnic Identity(pp. 54-72) New York, Routledge. Cuellar, I., Arnold, B., Maldonado, R. (1995). Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans-II: A Revision of the Original ARSMA scale. Behavioral Sciences 17 275-304, De Leon, Brunilda “Sex Role Identity Among College Students” in Amado M. Padilla(ed.) (1995)Hispanic Psychology Critical Issues in Theory and Research Thousand Oaks: Sage Publication (p.245-256) Either, K. and Deaux, K(1994) “Negotiating Social Identity When Contexts Change: Maintaining Identification and Responding to Threat.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 67 243-251 Either, K. and Deaux, K. (1990) “Hispanics in Ivy:Assessing Identity and Perceived Threat.”Sex Roles 22(7-8) 427-440 Erikson, E. (1968). Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: Norton. Helms, Janet E(1990) Black and White Racial Identity: Theory, Research, and Practice New York, Greenwood Press Chapter 1-3. Hispanic Journal of
Ichiyama, Michael A. et al. (1996) Contextual Influences on Ethnic Identity Among Hawaiian Students in the Mainland United States. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 27(4) 458-475 Iwamasa, Gayle Y. (1996) Acculturation of Asian American University Students.
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doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts. Landrine, Hope & Klonoff, Elizabeth A. (1994) The African American Acculturation Scale: Development, Reliability, and Validity. Journal of Black Psychology, 20(2)104127 Makabe, Tomoko (1979) Ethnic Identity Scale and Social Mobility:the Case of Nisei in Toronto. The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 16 136-145 Maldanado (1975) “Ethnic Self-Identity and Self-Understanding.” Social Casework 15 618-622 Marcia, James E. (1994) “The Empirical Study of Ego Identity” in Hark A. Bosma, et al., (ed) (1994) Identity and Development an Interdisciplinary Approach (p.67-80). Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications. Mirage, L.W. (1987). Valence of Ethnicity, Perception of Discrimination and Self-Esteem in High Risk Minority College Students. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Fordham University, New York. Montegomery, Gary T. (1992) Comfort With Acculturation Status Among Students From South Texas.Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 14(2)201-223
Parham, T.A. (1989) “Cycles of Psychological Nigrescence.” The Counseling Psychologist 17(2) 187-226 Phinney, Jean (1989) Stages of Ethnic Identity Development in Minority Group Adolescents. Journal of Early Adolescence, 9(2) 34-49 Phinney, Jean S. In J, Kroger(Ed.) (1993). Discussions in Ego Identity (pp. 47-58). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 89
Phinney, Jean S. & Alipuria, Linda L.(1996) At the Interface of Cultures: Multiethnic/Multiracial High School and College Students. Psychology, 36. 139-158 Phinney, Jean S. & Alipuria, Linda L.(1996)Ethnic identity in college students from four ethnic groups. Journal of Adolescence. Vol 13(2). 171-183 Phinney, Jean S. & Rosenthal, Doreen A (1992) Ethnic Identity in Adolescence: Process, Context, and Outcome. In G. Adams, T.T Gulotta, & R. Montemayor(Eds.) Adolescent identity formation(pp.145-172). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Phinney, Jean S. (1992) The Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure: A New Scale for Use With Diverse Groups. Journal of Adolescent Research, 7 156-176 Phinney, Jean S.(1991)“Ethnic Identity and Self-Esteem: A Review and Integration” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 13(2) 193-208 Phinney, Jean S.(1996) “When We Talk About American Ethnic Groups, What Do We Mean?” American Psychologist, 51 918-927 Phinney, Jean S., DuPont, Stephanie, et al. (1994) “Ethnic Identity and American Identification among Ethnic Minority Youths.” In Anne-Marie, Bouvy(Ed), Fons J. R., van de Vijver(Ed), et al. (1994). Journeys into cross-cultural psychology. (pp. 167-183). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger. Phinney, Jean S; Chavira, Victor. (1992)Ethnic identity and self-esteem: An exploratory longitudinal study. Journal of Adolescence. Vol 15(3). 271-281. Phinney, Jean(1990) Ethnic Identity in Adolescents and Adults: Review of Research. Psychological Bulletin, 108, 499-514 90 The Journal of Social
Phinney, Jean. S. and Onwughalu, Mukosolu (1996) Racial Identity and Perception of American and African Students in the United States. Intercultural Relations, 20(2) 127-140 Poindexter-Cameron, Jan M. and Robinson, Tracy L. ((1997) Relationships Among Racial Identity Attitudes, Womanist Identity Attitudes, and Self-Esteem in African American College Women. Journal of College Student Development 38(3) 288-296 Rosenberg, Morris (1979) Conceiving the Self New York: Basic Books, Inc. International Journal of
Saylor, Elizabeth (1996) Ethnic circles: Identity, Organizations, and Adjustment to College Life Unpublished thesis, Amherst College. Saylor, Elizabeth and Aries, Elizabeth (in press) Ethnic Identity and Change in Social Context. Journal of Social Psychology Sellers, Robert M., Chavous, Tabbye M., Cooke, Deanna Y. (1998) Racial Ideology and Racial Centrality as Predictors of African American College Students’ Academic Performance. Journal of Black Psychology 24(1) 8-27 Suinn, Richard, Rickard-Figueroa, Kathryn, Lew, Sandra, and Vigil, Patricia (1987) The Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale: An Initial Report. Educational and Psychological Measurement 47 401-407 Tajfel, Henri (1981) Human Groups and Social Categories Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Vermeulen, Hans and Pels, Trees. (1984) Ethnic Identity and Young Migrants in the Netherlands. Prospects 14(2) 277-282 91
APPENDIX A SURVEY TIME 3
Informed Consent Thank you for participating in my thesis! Participation in this study involves filling out a questionnaire about your ethnic/racial identity and involvement in student activities. The information you provided will be treated as completely confidential. Your name will never be connected to your responses on this survey. Your answers to all questions will be analyzed in statistical form only, without reference to you personally. When you turn in your questionnaire, this sheet with your name on it will be separated from the questionnaire itself. You are free to withdraw consent and to discontinue participating in this study at any time. Professor Aries or I will gladly answer any questions you have about the study. You may reach Professor Aries by telephone (x2793) or e-mail (ejaries)
Daniel Kauwe (x2915, dkkauwe)
Instructions for Completion of the Questionnaire 95
Before answering questions, read and follow the instructions at the beginning of each section. * These questions are about you - there are no right or wrong answers; you cannot make a mistake. * Many of these questions are about how you feel as a minority student on campus. The term ethnic or ethnicity is used on this questionnaire to refer to minority groups (e.g., African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American). It is not used to refer to various national or religious ethnicities (e.g., Italian, Jewish). *If you are bi-racial and one of your ethnicities is white, please answer the questions that ask about your ‘ethnicity’ by thinking about your feelings about your nonwhite ethnicity. If you belong to two or more ethnic minority groups (e.g., half Hispanic and half Black), please answer the “ethnicity” questions by thinking about your feelings toward both minority groups together. * While I realize that the questions sometimes seem repetitive, please answer every question, for sometimes missing a question makes the rest of the questionnaire invalid, if a question is difficult, just do your best. Of course, if there are questions to which you object, you need not answer them. * Unless the questionnaire says otherwise, answer the questions according to how you feel right at this moment. * For each question, don’t spend too much time thinking about your answer. Just give the answer that comes easily to mind. *Please do not discuss this questionnaire with other juniors who have not yet participated in this survey. Upon completion of your questionnaire, your name will be entered into a raffle for the money prize.
APPENDIX B RECRUITMENT LETTER
Win a $25 gift certificate
All that’s required is thirty minutes of your time to fill out a survey.
December 4, 1998 Dear student, Two years ago you were chosen as part of a sample of first-year students to participate in Elizabeth Saylor's honors thesis. This year I will be continuing to examine the students of that sample, now juniors. Before you toss this in the recycling bin, please consider spending 30
minutes filling out a questionnaire to help a very grateful honors student. No skills are required, and you’ll leave knowing in your heart that you have helped a student in need. Your help is critical to my thesis. I will send you a summary of my findings when the thesis is complete. If you would like to participate please tear off the self-addressed form below and throw it in campus mail. This year the survey will be available via the World Wide Web, and will be far more convenient and simple to complete. Information will be sent to you regarding the URL(web address) of the survey, and you may take it at any time, though you must complete the survey before the end of December in order to be considered for the prize. Thanks again! All participants will be entered into a drawing for 8 gift certificates of $25.00 to the merchant of your choice If you have any questions, please contact Daniel Kauwe at x2915 or dkkauwe Please return this self-addressed form immediately. --------------------------------------------------Name Phone
SCALES AND ALPHA CORRELATIONS
Scales and Alpha Coefficients
Affirmation and Belonging-subscale of MEIM(.83) 106
____I have a lot of pride in my ethnic group and its accomplishments. ____ I am happy to be a member of the group that I belong to. ____ I have a strong sense of belonging to my ethnic group.
Ethnic Identity Achievement-subscale of MEIM(.72) ____I have a clear sense of my ethnic background and what it means to me. ____ I really have not spent much time trying to learn about my ethnic group membership. ____I think a lot about how my life will be affected by my ethnic group membership. ____ In order to learn more about my ethnic background, I have often talked to other people about by ethnic group. Ethnic Behaviors-subscale of MEIM(r=.40_) ____ I have been active in ethnic organizations or social groups that include mostly members of my own ethnic group. ____I have a lot of pride in my ethnic group and its accomplishments.
Preencounter(.85) ____My ethnic group is an important reflection of who I am. ____I feel good about my cultural or ethnic background. ____I feel a strong attachment towards my own ethnic group. ____I enjoy reading ethnic books and magazines, listening to ethnic radio, and/or watching ethnic TV. ____ I have a lot of pride in my ethnic group and its accomplishments. ____Overall my ethnic group membership has very little to do with how I feel about myself. 107
____The ethnic group I belong to is unimportant to my sense of what kind of person I am. ____I often regret that I belong to my ethnic group. ____My ethnicity does not play a significant role in my everyday life. ____I prefer ethnic musician and artists to Anglo musicians and artists. ____I am happy that I am a member of the ethnic group that I belong to. ____ I have a strong sense of belonging to my ethnic group.
Immersion(.82) ____Even if we don’t like the same things, I still feel more comfortable being with people of my own ethnic group. ____I have changed my dress, hair, or speech to better reflect my ethnicity. ____I am predominately involved with people and groups of my own ethnicity. ____I think a lot about how my life will be affected by my ethnic group membership. ____I worry about whether my friends think I’m acting “white.” ____I would rather not have a white roommate. ____I tend not to trust whites because they are white. ____I prefer to keep a distance emotionally from white people. ____I have, or think I might have, difficulty accepting Anglos as close personal friends.
Internalization/Commitment(.83) ____I really have not spent much time trying to learn about the culture and history of my own ethnic group. ____I have spent time trying to find out more about my ethnic group, such as its history, 108
traditions, and customs. ____ In order to learn more about my ethnic background, I have often talked to other people about my ethnic group. ____I have a clear sense of my ethnic background and what it means to me. ____I understand pretty well what my ethnic group means to me in terms of how to relate to my own group and other groups. Ethnic Culture(.76) ____Speak in ethnic language ____Participate in ethnic cultural traditions and customs ____ Celebrate major ethnic holidays ____ Eat ethnic food
Ethnic People (.83) ____Have many ethnic friends ____Date people of your ethnicity ____Date people of your ethnicity Ethnic Media(r=.64) ____Listen/watch ethnic music, TV, radio, movies ____Read ethnic books and magazines
Ethnic Social Action(r=.41) ____Participate in ethnic social action and political groups ____Participate in ethnic cultural traditions and customs 109
Campus Adjustment(.76) ____Feel part of the campus as a whole. ____Make friends outside of the group. ____Join other extracurricular groups ____Find time for other pursuits ____Control the important things in your life ____Feel free to decide whom to be friends with Support(.81) ____Make friends with people from the same culture or background ____Find support when things are going badly ____Handle your personal problems ____Maintain your ethnic identity ____Attend social activities. Perceived Social Stress(.86) _____that you were unable to control the important things in your life? _____that you were coping effectively with important changes in your life? _____confident about your ability to handle your personal problems _____that difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them? Self-Esteem(.90)
_____I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on a equal basis with other students at Amherst. _____Compared with other students at Amherst, I feel that I have a number of good qualities. _____I am able to do things as well as most students at Amherst. _____I am inclined to feel that I am a failure compared with other students at Amherst _____I take a positive attitude towards myself compared with other students at Amherst. _____On the whole I am as satisfied with myself as other Amherst students.