Self and Identity

Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)


The above quote is from a girl who was asked what she likes about being African American. Although she is aware of the negative media portrayal of her race, she strongly identifies with being African American and has a strong emotional attachment to Black people. In this chapter, several aspects of the self, including racial or ethnic identity, gender roles, relationships, and sexuality, are discussed. The chapter examines how African American female adolescent’s views of self impact other important self attributes, including self-esteem, self-complexity, risky sexual behavior, body image, and sexual identity.

One of the primary tasks of adolescence is to develop an identity. Our identity is derived from our past experiences, defines who we are, and who we will become. A central component of our identity is the feelings and beliefs we have about our self. Ways of thinking about the self have been termed “self-concept,” “self-liking,” “self-esteem,” “self-complexity,” and “self-worth.” Other aspects of our identity include how we feel about being male or female, and how we feel about the ethnic or racial group to which we belong. Our sexuality is another aspect of our identity.


Body Image African American Woman Ethnic Identity Sexual Identity African Descent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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