Ethnicity and Internalizing/Externalizing Problems

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Jennifer Weaver


Data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development were analyzed to examine associations between ethnic identity and adolescent adjustment. Regression results indicated that positive ethnic affiliation measured at grade 5 was associated longitudinally with fewer internalizing behaviors and greater social skills at age 15. Participants were the families in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

In this study, it was found that positive affiliation with one’s ethnic identity related to positive social skills in adolescence. Prior research has suggested that a greater identification, or affiliation, with one’s ethnic group can lead to higher levels of self-esteem (Wissink, 2008), which may in turn lay the foundation for positive social skills. Thus, this research suggests that one avenue for fostering social skills in adolescents is to promote a healthy and adaptive sense of ethnic identity.

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