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Prospective Links Between Ethnic Socialization, Ethnic and American Identity, and Well-Being Among Asian-American Adolescents

Abstract

Ethnic socialization and ethnic identity have been related to positive outcomes, but little research has examined these associations longitudinally. This three-wave study prospectively linked socialization messages at Time 1, ethnic identity and American identity at Time 2, and self-esteem and depressive symptoms at Time 3 in 147 (58 % female; 25 % first-generation) Asian-American adolescents. The results indicated positive links between cultural socialization messages and ethnic and American identity, though the latter association was significant only for females. Ethnic identity was positively related to self-esteem, and mediated the positive effect of cultural socialization on self-esteem. The promotion of mistrust was positively linked to self-esteem and negatively related to ethnic identity, though this latter association was significant for foreign-born youth only. Our findings highlight the importance of elucidating prospective links in identity development, and examining gender and generational differences within them.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the schools and individual adolescents who participated in the study. Funding for the study, in part, was made possible by a Wake Forest University SBE grant awarded to LK.

Author contributions

LK designed and coordinated the larger study from which this manuscript is based. MG conceived of this manuscript’s research questions and drafted the manuscript with assistance from LK. AS performed the statistical analyses and helped to draft specific sections of the manuscript. All authors participated in the interpretation of the data, read, revised, and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Meaghan Gartner.

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Gartner, M., Kiang, L. & Supple, A. Prospective Links Between Ethnic Socialization, Ethnic and American Identity, and Well-Being Among Asian-American Adolescents. J Youth Adolescence 43, 1715–1727 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-0044-0

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Keywords

  • Ethnic socialization
  • American identity
  • Ethnic identity
  • Well-being
  • Asian-American