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J Adolesc. 1998 Dec;21(6):641-56.

Perception of discrimination and ethnocultural variables in a diverse group of adolescents.

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School of Social Work, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


Despite current interest in the multi-dimensionality of culture and ethnicity there are few studies that have explored the role of discrimination with ethnocultural variables. In this study social identity theory was used as a framework to test the relation between discrimination and components of ethnic identity, and attitudes towards out-groups. A school-based survey in a large south-west metropolitan area in 1994 was undertaken with students (n=3071) of African-American, European-American, Mexican-American, and Vietnamese-American descent using multiple measures of ethnicity. Hierarchical multiple regression results indicated that two components of ethnic identity played different roles in the relation between discrimination and attitudes towards others. Consistent with social identity theory, results indicated that perception of more discrimination was predicted by high ethnic exploration, and having more negative attitudes towards out-groups. However, ethnic affirmation, which is a positive sense of belonging to one's ethnic group, was only indirectly related to discrimination through attitudes toward others. In fact, contrary to social identity theory, a stronger sense of belonging to one's group was associated with more positive attitudes toward out-groups. Results have important implications for race relations.

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