Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Ben Kuo

Keywords

Psychology, Biracial identity, Cultural socialization, Family, Internalized oppression, Psychological adjustment, Racial socialization

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to examine the interrelationships among biracial identity, family, and psychological adjustment variables in biracial young adults. A mixed methods design was used to investigate a large sample (N=356) of Asian-White biracial young adults (aged 18-30) from Canada and the United States. This study was based on the Multiracial Heritage and Personal Affiliation (M-HAPA) Model of biracial identity, which incorporates the integrated, singular, and marginal identity orientations and posits identity fluidity and dominance (Choi-Misailidis, 2004). Additional variables included family relationship quality, two aspects of racial-ethnic socialization (cultural socialization and preparation for bias), and four aspects of psychological adjustment (self-esteem, positive affect, psychological distress, and internalized oppression). Exploratory factor analyses were conducted to test the psychometric properties of measures developed or adapted for the current study. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to identify the biracial identity orientations and family variables that predicted psychological adjustment, as well as test whether family relationship quality moderated racial-ethnic socialization and psychological adjustment. Results demonstrated that: 1) internalized oppression was predicted by marginal identity, singular-majority identity, and minority cultural socialization; 2) psychological distress was predicted by marginal identity and poor family relationship quality; and 3) positive affect was predicted by integrated identity, better family relationship quality, and minority cultural socialization. Family relationship quality was not found to be a significant moderator. Cluster analysis was also used to group participants according to patterns of scores on biracial identity orientation subscales. Three groups were identified: the Integrated Asian-White Dominant group, the Asian Dominant group, and the White Dominant group. The Integrated Asian-White Dominant group demonstrated better family relationships and less psychological distress than the Asian Dominant and White Dominant groups. The Integrated Asian-White Dominant was also higher on White cultural socialization than the Asian Dominant group. The White Dominant group was higher on internalized oppression than the other groups. Evidence for identity fluidity and dominance was found. Participants were also asked qualitative questions related to biracial identity development, the positive aspects of being biracial, racial-ethnic socialization, and internalized oppression. Thematic analysis was used to identify overall themes.

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