Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Ethnic identity and acculturation in a young adult Mexican-origin population

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The relations among ethnic identity, measured by the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) and acculturation, as measured by the Acculturation Rating Scale-II (ARSMA-11) were studied in 1,367 freshmen college students, 87% of whom were of Mexican origin. The results strongly support the concept that ethnic identity and acculturation are related but separate processes. Ethnic identity scores were found to be highest in first generation, less acculturated subjects, and traditional acculturative types. Higher levels of acculturation were associated with less feelings of affirmation and belonging, and less feelings of ethnic identity achievement. The Pearson correlation coefficient obtained for Ethnic Identity and Acculturation was r = -.32 (p < .001). Ethnic Identity Achievement (r = -.25), Affirmation and Belonging (r = -.35), and Ethnic Behaviors (r = -.14), were all negatively correlated with linear acculturation. High Biculturals were found to obtain higher scores in ethnic identity than Low Biculturals, and High Biculturals were found to be oriented more toward others than those who were classified as Traditional or Assimilated. The findings suggest that one's sense of ethnic group membership diminishes with behavioral acculturation among Mexican Americans.


Copyright © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.;2-O

Publication Title

Journal of Community Psychology