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Psychol Bull. 2005 Jul;131(4):569-91.

Perspectives and research on the positive and negative implications of having multiple racial identities.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Much attention has been directed toward understanding the impact having a multiracial background has on psychological well-being and adjustment. Past psychological research has focused on the challenges multiracial individuals confront in defining a racial identity. The implication is that these challenges lead to outcomes that are psychologically detrimental. However, evidence to support this assertion is mixed. The authors review qualitative and quantitative empirical research examining multiracial individuals' identity development, depression, problem behaviors, peer relationships, school performance, and self-esteem, finding support for detrimental outcomes only in studies sampling clinical populations. Studies on nonclinical samples find that multiracial individuals tend to be just as well-adjusted as their monoracial peers on most psychological outcomes. Earlier assertions of maladjustment may have been due to reliance on qualitative research that sampled clinical populations. Other implications and future research are discussed.

Copyright 2005 APA, all rights reserved.

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