Family Matters: The Implications of Family Support on Multiracial Identity

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2017

Faculty Sponsor

Mary Pritchard


Researchers have investigated ethnic and racial identity (ERI) development during adolescence for specific minority groups, but few studies have focused on multiracial identity and its interaction with personal identity development. Some evidence supports that multiracial adolescents experience maladaptive psychosocial functioning due to ERI confusion. Alternatively, the struggle to develop continuity in ERI has resulted in positive outcomes, such as resilience. Little attention, however, has been directed toward the effects of family influence on identity exploration. The present study seeks to explore the effect of family influence on multiracial adolescent identity exploration. We hypothesize that multiracial adolescents experience more identity crises when their families are unsupportive in their identity exploration endeavors. Participants for the study included Psychology students at a public university in a metropolitan city of the Pacific Northwest and the general public via social media as well as Amazon Mechanical Turk. We found that multiracial and monoracial participants exhibited a statistically significant difference in their ethnic identity search scores. It is crucial to future generations of multiracial adolescents that their experience is understood so that psychologists may have a better understanding of individual differences.

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