Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


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Project: "Ethnic Identity & Psychological Adjustment among African, Asian & Latino Youth"










Research Project
“Ethnic Identity & Psychological Adjustment among African, Asian & Latino Youth”
Financed by:
National Institutes of Health – Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development:(NICHD 1 R01 HD055436-01A1; 2008-2011)

Primary Investigators:
Tiffany Yip (Fordham University)
J. Nicole Shelton (Princeton University)
 
Project Team at Fordham:  
Shauna Ford (Project Director)
Sara Douglass (ADP graduate student)
Monique Wilson (Clinical graduate student)
Katherine McDermott (Research Assistant)
Tom Gondek (Research Assistant)
Annie Meagher (Research Assistant)
Laina Yoswein (Research Assistant)
Samantha Myers (Research Assistant)
Joanna Venditto (Research Assistant)
Natalia Tumeniuk (Research Assistant)
Dr. Tiffany Yip
Dr. Tiffany Yip
Principal Investigator


Background

This study examines the role of ethnic identity in the everyday lives of African, Asian and Latino American youths. Adolescence is a development period of identity search and construction; and for minority youth, this identity may be particularly complex given the meaning and significance that United States society places on ethnicity. While many theorists have discussed the fluidity of ethnic identity, there is surprisingly little empirical support and even less longitudinal research. Incorporating developmental and social psychological theories, we take a person by situation approach to our study by examining the fluidity of ethnic identity as youths move through their natural environments and settings.

Aims

Our study examines the impact of context, at a global and immediate level, on the fluidity of ethnic identity salience. Since youths bring certain personal characteristics (e.g., stable ethnic identity) into each setting it is also important to examine the unique experiences of ethnic identity salience for the same individual across different contexts as well as for different individuals in the same contexts. To this end, we employ a combination of experience sampling, daily diary and survey methods to measure ethnic identity at more than on level. As well, the literature on ethnic identity suggests that it is related to how youths feel about themselves; therefore, this study examines how the fluidity of ethnic identity salience is associated with the fluidity of psychological feelings across days and situations. Finally, we examines these associations over a three-year period in order to examine how everyday experiences impact the development and maintenance of stable ethnic identity over time. Developmental theorists have suggested that it is youths repeated experience in settings that culminate over time to influence the development and maintenance of more stable traits; we test this theory by examining ethnic identity. We believe that this project is of particular relevance to understanding the everyday experiences of minority youth in the United States and how these experiences shape their psychological adjustment (e.g., depression, anxiety) and feelings of self-worth (e.g., self-esteem) over time. By including African, Asian and Latino American youth, we will be able to examine differences between youths in each of these groups as well as commonalities they share as minorities.

Method

Approximately 300 9th grade students from African, Asian and Latino American youth will participate in this study for 3 years. The participants have been recruited from 5 public high schools in New York City. In all years, participants will complete experience sampling, daily diary, and surveys.

Results

We are currently collecting data in the field and conducting preliminary analyses on the first 2 waves of data.



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