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J Adolesc. 1990 Jun;13(2):171-83.

Ethnic identity in college students from four ethnic groups.

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Department of Psychology, California State University, Los Angeles 90032.


Research on adolescent identity development within Erikson's (1968) framework has not included ethnicity. This study examined ethnic identity search and commitment, the importance of ethnicity as an identity issue, and relationship of ethnic identity to self-esteem among college students. Questionnaires were given to 196 male and female urban college students from three minority groups (Asian-American, Black, and Mexican-American) and a comparison White group. Exploration of ethnic identity issues was significantly higher among minority group, compared to majority group, college students. Ethnicity was considered to be as important as two other traditionally studied areas of identity and was rated as significantly more important by minorities than by Whites. Self-esteem, especially for minority subjects was related to the extent that subjects had thought about and resolved issues involving their ethnicity.

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