After 18, family influence still key to one's ethnic identity

Feb 01, 2010

The formative years don't stop at 18 according to a new study that found the actions and lifestyle of the family continue to influence whether young adults embrace their ethnicity and take pride in their roots. Published in the Journal of Adolescence, the study of young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 found that those whose families continue to teach them about their ethnic background had a greater sense of ethnic identity.

Individuals whose families actively share cultural customs and traditions with them, celebrating Chinese New Year for example, reported feeling more attached to their ethnic group and spent more time exploring their heritage.

"These results highlight the fact that cultural education is an important aspect of parenting," said the study's author Linda Juang, associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. "The influence of the family continues to shape young people's ethnic identity beyond adolescence."

Juang surveyed more than 200 adults between the ages of 18 and 30, including Asian Americans, Latinos, white individuals and those of mixed ethnicity. Early adulthood is thought to be a critical time for identity development. Psychologists are interested in how ethnic identity is formed since research has associated a strong sense of ethnic identity with greater and decreased depression.

The study found that the family's role in communicating and traditions had a greater influence on young adults' exploration of their ethnicity compared with whether they adopted values associated with their ethnic group. "Parents may be effective in prompting their children to find out more about their culture but they can't necessarily instill the values of their culture," Juang said.

The results also suggest that the relationship between the family's influence and ethnic identity is more pronounced for females than males. This is consistent with previous research suggesting that parents tend to focus on passing on cultural traditions to daughters more than sons.

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

More information: The study was recently published online in the Journal of Adolescence and will be published in the August 2010 print issue.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ethnic pride may boost African-American teens' mental health

Nov 13, 2009

Most adolescents who belong to an ethnic minority group wrestle not only with their self-esteem (like most teens), but also with identity issues unique to their ethnic group, such as dealing with social stigma. A new study ...

Ethnic pride key to black teen mental health

Dec 01, 2009

Ethnic pride may be as important as self-esteem to the mental health of young African-American adolescents, according to a new study in the Nov/Dec issue of the journal Child Development.

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.