A Narrative-Linguistic Approach to Understanding Asian American Adolescents’ Discrimination Experiences

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Within the discrimination literature, relatively little qualitative work has focused exclusively on adolescents from Asian American backgrounds. In the present study, 69 adolescents (62% female) wrote short narratives to describe an encounter with ethnic discrimination. Using qualitative content analysis, responses were systematically categorized to gain insight into the types of discrimination experiences faced by Asian American youth. In addition, linguistic characteristics of the narratives were analyzed and linked to psychological well-being. Results suggest that adolescents’ experiences of discrimination are widely diverse, and that insights into well-being can be made by investigating the way in which individuals retell such encounters, with positive adjustment being associated with more use of the word “I” and less use of negative emotion words.

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