Bridging Multidimensional Models of Ethnic–Racial and Gender Identity Among Ethnically Diverse Emerging Adults

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to integrate and validate a multidimensional model of ethnic–racial identity and gender identity borrowing constructs and measures based on social identity and gender identity theories. Participants included 662 emerging adults (M age  = 19.86 years; 75 % female) who self-identified either as Asian American, Latino/a, or White European American. We assessed the following facets separately for ethnic–racial identity and gender identity: centrality, in-group affect, in-group ties, self-perceived typicality, and felt conformity pressure. Within each identity domain (gender or ethnicity/race), the five dimensions generally indicated small-to-moderate correlations with one another. Also, correlations between domains for each dimension (e.g., gender typicality and ethnic–racial typicality) were mostly moderate in magnitude. We also noted some group variations based on participants’ ethnicity/race and gender in how strongly particular dimensions were associated with self-esteem. Finally, participants who scored positively on identity dimensions for both gender and ethnic–racial domains indicated higher self-esteem than those who scored high in only one domain or low in both domains. We recommend the application of multidimensional models to study social identities in multiple domains as they may relate to various outcomes during development.

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Acknowledgments

The research was supported by a Cota-Robles Fellowship to Antoinette Wilson and a grant from the UCSC Academic Senate Committee on Research to Campbell Leaper. We are grateful to Christy Byrd, Timea Farkas, Rachael Robnett, Wendelien VanTieghem, Alexa Paynter, Veronica Hamilton, Christine Starr, and the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and thoughtful feedback. We also thank Doug Bonett for his statistical consultation. Findings from this study were presented at the 2014 Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence in Austin, Texas.

Author Contributions

Both authors collaborated in all aspects of the study, although AW was primarily responsible for initially conceiving the study and for conducting the statistical analyses. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Antoinette R. Wilson.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Research involving human participants

The Institutional Review Board at the authors’ university reviewed and approved the research protocol.

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Informed consent was secured from all participants.

Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 7.

Table 7 Factor loadings for principle components analysis with oblimin rotation for items on the gender identity measure

Appendix 2

See Table 8.

Table 8 Factor loadings for principle components analysis with oblimin rotation for items on the racial–ethnic identity measure

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Wilson, A.R., Leaper, C. Bridging Multidimensional Models of Ethnic–Racial and Gender Identity Among Ethnically Diverse Emerging Adults. J Youth Adolescence 45, 1614–1637 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-015-0323-z

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Keywords

  • Ethnic identity
  • Racial and ethnic attitudes
  • Gender identity
  • Sex role attitudes
  • Self esteem