Identity formation in emerging adults with immigrant backgrounds

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Palijan, Susan
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of the associations among ego identity, ethnic identity, acculturation strategies, and psychological well-being for emerging adults with immigrant backgrounds. One hundred ninety-six participants, aged 17-25, completed a survey package containing attitudinal scales that measured each of the main variables above. Discriminant and reliability analyses validated the constructs used in this study. Both univariate analyses of variance and hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted on the data. A relationship between ego and ethnic identity was found at the moratorium status. The diffusion and moratorium ego identity statuses predicted ethnic identity. Also, ethnic identity was positively related to assimilation and separation modes of acculturation. While ethnic identity, diffusion, foreclosure and moratorium were predictive of assimilation, only ethnic identity was predictive of separation. Altogether, these results indicate that ethnic identity is a critical aspect of the identity formation of a diverse group of emerging adults across various immigrant backgrounds.

identity formation, emerging adults, immigrant backgrounds, ethnic identity, assimilation