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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Aug;95(2):338-51. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.95.2.338.

Distinguishing institutional identification from academic goal pursuit: interactive effects of ethnic identification and race-based rejection sensitivity.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650, USA.


We examined the interactive effects of ethnic identification (EI) and race-based rejection sensitivity (RS-race) on institutional outcomes among African American college students. We distinguished between effects on institutional identification on the one hand and academic goal pursuit (e.g., staying in school, grade point average [GPA]) on the other. Supporting the utility of this distinction, we found that EI and RS-race interacted to predict these outcomes differently. Higher EI in combination with higher RS-race predicted reduced identification with the institution (Studies 1, 2, and 3a). This combination, however, did not lead to decreases in GPA over time. Moreover, EI was positively related to intentions to stay in school as well as to GPA increases among those lower in RS-race (Studies 1 and 3b). Implications for understanding identity negotiation vis-à-vis performance in institutional settings are discussed.

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