Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 165–185

Ethnic and American Identity as Predictors of Self-Esteem Among African American, Latino, and White Adolescents

  • Jean S. Phinney
  • Cindy Lou Cantu
  • Dawn A. Kurtz

DOI: 10.1023/A:1024500514834

Cite this article as:
Phinney, J.S., Cantu, C.L. & Kurtz, D.A. Journal of Youth and Adolescence (1997) 26: 165. doi:10.1023/A:1024500514834


In order to examine ethnic and American identity as predictors of self-esteem among adolescents, we surveyed 669 American-born high school students (372 Latinos, 232 African Americans, and 65 Whites). Participants completed measures of self-esteem, ethnic identity, American identity, attitudes toward other groups, and demographic variables. Multiple regression analyses of self-esteem were carried out separately for each ethnic group, using ethnic and American identity, other-group attitudes, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and grade point average as predictors. Results indicated that for all groups ethnic identity was a significant predictor of self-esteem. For the White students only, American identity was a strong predictor of self-esteem and was highly correlated with ethnic identity. Other predictors varied across ethnic groups. Although ethnic identity was a significant predictor of self-esteem, it accounted for a relatively small proportion of the variance, suggesting the importance of other influences on self-esteem.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean S. Phinney
    • 1
  • Cindy Lou Cantu
    • 2
  • Dawn A. Kurtz
    • 3
  1. 1.PsychologyCalifornia State UniversityLos Angeles
  2. 2.PsychologyCalifornia State UniversityLos Angeles
  3. 3.PsychologyUniversity of SouthernCalifornia