Interrelations Among Dimensions of Ethnic-Racial Identity During Adolescence

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Abstract

Two approaches to conceptualizing ethnic-racial identity development dominate the literature within developmental psychology—1 focused on the process of ethnic-racial identity development, including exploration and commitment, and another focused on the evaluative components of identity, including private and public regard. In this study, we examined the interrelations among exploration, commitment, private regard, and public regard across three years in an ethnically diverse sample of Black, Dominican, Chinese, and White early adolescents. To examine the temporal precedence of multiple identity components, we used autoregressive latent trajectory analysis, which estimated time specific relationships, as well as covariation between latent factors. Findings indicated significant cross-time relationships among all identity components. For the most part, exploration predicted commitment, private regard, and public regard but not the reverse. Relationships between commitment and regard were reciprocal. Findings varied across ethnic-racial groups. We discuss the implications of our work for understanding identity processes.

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