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Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2008 Apr;14(2):128-37. doi: 10.1037/1099-9809.14.2.128.

What it means to be and feel like a "true" American: perceptions and experiences of second-generation Americans.

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  • 1Division of Psychological and Educational Services, Fordham University, New York, NY 10023, USA.


Through semistructured interviews, the authors investigated the relationships between the definition of a "true" American, the impact of 9/11, and the war in Iraq and their impact on experiences of fitting into and being excluded from the American identity with a sample of 10 2nd-generation young adults. Using consensual qualitative research methods (C. E. Hill et al., 2005; C. E. Hill, B. Thompson, & E. N. Williams, 1997) the authors identified 6 major domains that described participants' experiences, including physical characteristics of true Americans, behavioral characteristics of true Americans, beliefs and values of true Americans, the impact of 9/11 on definitions of true Americans, participants' American identity, and experiences as 2nd-generation Americans.

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