The Crucible Within: Ethnic Identity, Self-Esteem, and Segmented Assimilation Among Children of Immigrants
International Migration Review, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 748-794, Winter 1994
48 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2011
Date Written: 1994
Focusing on the formation of ethnic self-identities during adolescence, this paper examines the psychosocial adaptation of children of immigrants from Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The data are drawn from the CILS survey carried out in the San Diego and Miami metropolitan areas of over 5,000 children of immigrants attending the 8th and 9th grades in local schools. The sample is evenly split by gender and nativity (half are U.S.-born, half foreign-born). The results show major differences in their patterns of ethnic self-identification, both between and within groups from diverse national origins. Instead of a uniform assimilative path, we found segmented paths to identity formation. Detailed social portraits are sketched for each ethnic identity type. Multivariate analyses then explore the determinants of assimilative and dissimilative ethnic self-identities, and of other aspects of psychosocial adaptation such as self-esteem, depressive affect, and parent-child conflict, controlling for gender, socioeconomic status, and national origin. The theoretical and practical implications of these results – especially the effects of acculturation, discrimination, location and ethnic density of schools, parental socialization and family context, upon the psychosocial adaptation of children of recent immigrants to the United States – are discussed.
Keywords: children of immigrants, segmented assimilation, ethnic self-identities, self-esteem, depressive affect, parent-child conflict, acculturation, discrimination
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