Examining the Temporal Order of Ethnic Identity and Perceived Discrimination Among Hispanic Immigrant Adolescents

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Ethnic identity formation is a central developmental task that can become challenging when adolescents face a salient stressor, such as ethnic discrimination. Although ethnic identity and experiences with ethnic discrimination are thought to be associated, the temporal order of these constructs is unclear. In the current study, we examined (a) the rejection-identification model and (b) the identification-attribution model in a longitudinal, cross-lagged model among 302 Hispanic immigrant adolescents (Mage = 14.51, SD = .88 at baseline; 46.7% female) living in Miami (n = 152) and Los Angeles (n = 150). Results support the identification-attribution model such that adolescents who reported higher levels of ethnic identity exploration reported higher levels of perceived discrimination 1 year later. Conversely, adolescents who reported higher levels of ethnic identity belonging reported less subsequent perceived discrimination. Findings suggest that ethnic identity formation may affect the recognition of ethnic discrimination among Hispanic immigrant adolescents.

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