Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 503–516

The Effects of Ethnic Identity, Ethnicity, and Gender on Adolescent Well-Being

  • Rubén O. Martinez
  • Richard L. Dukes

DOI: 10.1023/A:1024525821078

Cite this article as:
Martinez, R.O. & Dukes, R.L. Journal of Youth and Adolescence (1997) 26: 503. doi:10.1023/A:1024525821078


Ethnic identity was conceptualized into three categories: (1) unexamined, (2) searching for identity, and (3) achieved ethnic identity. Analyses of data collected from 12,386 adolescents showed that ethnic identity is an important qualifier of the relationships between independent variables of ethnicity and gender, and dependent variables of global self-esteem, academic self-confidence, and purpose in life. Whites and Native Americans had lower ethnic identity, and Blacks and Hispanics had higher ethnic identity. Asians and repondents of mixed ethnicity had intermediate levels of ethnic identity. The greater the ethnic identity, the higher the self-esteem, purpose in life and self-confidence. This mechanism applies to ethnic minorities and to women among whom achieved ethnic identity may blunt the negative effects of social denigration and stereotyping, and it applies to whites, too. The paper argues that multiculturalism in the schools can increase ethnic identity.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rubén O. Martinez
    • 1
  • Richard L. Dukes
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Southern ColoradoPueblo
  2. 2.University of ColoradoColorado Springs