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Running head: IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT AMONG ETHNIC MINORITIES 1 Identity Development Among Ethnic Minority Adolescents Child Psychology Ashley Santo Capella University August 2019
IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT 2 Introduction The adolescent stage can be broken down into three different age groups which includes early adolescence (11/12 to 14), middle adolescence (14 to 16), and late adolescence (16 to 18). During the adolescent phase there are many changes taking place including social and emotional changes like self-esteem, self-concept, physical changes likes puberty, hormones, and body growth, and cognitive changes like information/thought process and decision making. For the ethnic minority adolescents, they are also going through identity development and formation and there is a direct correlation and impact from this process to the school environment and academic achievement. Ethnic Identity Ethnic identity is an important part of creating a healthy identify especially for those in adolescents and those of color and is developed by many contributing factors and models that support ethnic identity. Miller-Cotto & Byrnes (2016) explained Erik Erikson stated, “identity formation is considered one of the most critical aspects of development especially during adolescents” (p.51). There are positive and negative relations between ethnic identify and academic achievement; Theories that predict positive associations which include Phinney’s Model and Helm’s Model and a theory that predicts negative associations is the Cultural Ecological Theory. Miller-Cotto & Byrnes (2016) explained Phinney’s Model to consist of two dimensions the first being the search for ethnic information that is important to that person and the second being the person figuring out how important that component is to their identity. This model explains that a person is able to understand a sense of themselves and feel confident with
IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT 3 that and therefore is able to make important decisions and that this keeps academic achievement at a high rate. This model is commonly used because of the outcome which is having a clear sense of your group membership and what one’s ethnic identify means to themselves. Helm’s Model is explained by Miller-Cotto & Byrnes (2016) that both black and white people experience racial identity development. Advocates for Helm’s Model are also advocates for Phinney’s Model and therefore believe there is a positive association between identity development and academic achievement. During their study to find if ethnic identity had an impact on academic achievement, Miller-Cotto & Byrnes (2016) found that it depended upon the ethnic group, components of ethnic identity for the person, and the meaning of ethnic identify in different specific contexts. If a youth is struggling to associate themselves with a group to help form their identity there is a risk of developing depressive symptoms and aggressions symptoms due to frustration.

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