Empirical Research

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, 38:228

First online:

Ethnic Identity and Family Processes Among Adolescents from Latin American, Asian, and European Backgrounds

  • Lisa KiangAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Wake Forest University Email author 
  • , Andrew J. FuligniAffiliated withUniversity of California, Los Angeles

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Ninth graders (N = 679; 50% male, 50% female) from Latin American (41%), Asian (38%), and European (21%) backgrounds reported on their ethnic identity and family attitudes and relationships. Adolescents also completed daily checklists of family interactions over a two-week period. Results indicated that ethnic identity, measured through exploration and belonging was more strongly associated with family obligation and assistance than with parent–child closeness and family leisure time. Adolescents from Latin American and Asian backgrounds reported significantly higher levels of obligation and assistance as compared to adolescents with European backgrounds, and these ethnic differences were mediated by ethnic identity. Longitudinal analyses indicated ongoing associations, with ethnic identity predicting respect and obligation one year later. The discussion focuses on the role of ethnic identity in children’s family connectedness during adolescence.


Ethnic identity Family relationships Family obligation Ethnically diverse adolescents