The struggle for selfhood in multiracial adolescents: Identify formation in Asian-White mixed race youth

Posted in Dissertations, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2010-11-14 05:09Z by Steven

The struggle for selfhood in multiracial adolescents: Identify formation in Asian-White mixed race youth

Widener University, Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology
May 2008
184 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3405230
ISBN: 9781109705614

Leilani Salvo Crane

A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology College of Arts and Sciences Widener University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Psychology

This qualitative study identified factors that contribute to racial identity development in multiracial Asian-White adolescents. The research sample was comprised of 12 mixed-race Asian-White Americans between the ages of 16 and 23 years, 7 females and 5 males. They represent a variety of Asian-White mixes: 4 Japanese American-White; 3 Chinese-White or Chinese American-White; 2 Filipino American-White; 1 Japanese-Chinese-White; and 1 Hawaiian-Spanish-Filipino-Chinese-White. Biracial Asian-Black individuals were excluded due to the well-documented American tendency to classify mixed-race individuals of Black descent as “Black.” The participants were drawn from two sources, a book of interviews conducted and compiled by Pearl Fuyo Gaskins entitled, What Are You? Voices of Mixed-Race Young People, and a “fictional autobiography” by Kip Fulbeck entitled, paper bullets. Participants were chosen to represent a broad spectrum of Asian descent, geographical location, age, and gender. The first-person accounts were analyzed using a qualitative method devised by Carol Gilligan and colleagues, the Listening Guide Method. The method was modified by employing a tabular sorting of themes identified in the various stages of analysis dictated by the Listening Guide Method. The findings indicated several shared themes that impacted the participants’ process of racial identification. Key findings included sensitivity to other racial minorities, experiences of exoticization and objectification, not fitting in, racial pride, and experiences of racism. These in turn contributed to the participants feelings of anger toward the majority White culture, pain at not fitting in to this culture, “invisibility,” or lack of recognition by the majority culture, and having an unclear sense of self.

Based on data from well-being studies, multiracial Asian American identity development models, and the results of the current analyses, the study concluded that exposure to a reference group of multiracial Asian-White individuals is a critical contributor to the development of positive racial self-view. The study acknowledges that experiences of racism, marginalization, and invisibility negatively impact identity development in mixed-race Asian-White adolescents, and that clinical interventions should include exposure to Asian-White reference groups.

Purchase the dissertation here.

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