The nature of bi-ethnic identity in young adults of Asian and European descent and their perceptions of familial influences on its development
Wagner Hoa, Amanda Laurel
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The purpose of this study was to identify the key constructs of bi-ethnic identity, the key familial influences, and other salient influences on bi-ethnic identity as perceived by young adults of Asian and European descent. The rapidly changing demographics of the United States provide an impetus for research on the developmental processes of bi-ethnic individuals. In this qualitative study, participants were interviewed about their bi-ethnic identities and possible influences on bi-ethnic identity development. Data analysis for this study incorporated techniques from grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) and analytic induction (LeCompte & Preissle, 1993). Five bi-ethnic identity types emerged from participants' responses to interview questions: majority identity, minority identity, dual identity, integrated identity, and unresolved identity. These identity types are a unique contribution to the literature in that they specify how individuals of Asian and European descent define themselves. Additionally, this study identified four facets of bi-ethnic identity that indicate how bi-ethnic individuals think and feel about their background: centrality, self-label, affirmation, and affect. Six categories of influences on bi-ethnic identity development emerged from responses to interview questions (parental, extended family, personal, peer, environmental, discrimination), with 18 subcategories. This study is important because most prior research on bi-ethnic identity has focused on uncovering developmental stages, while we lack understanding of the nature of bi-ethnic identity and influences on its development. This study was important given the dearth of research on bi-ethnic Asians, although future research is needed with other bi-ethnic groups.