The Roles of Self-Esteem, Familial Bonds and Bicultural Identity on Ethnic Identity

The topic we have chosen to focus our study on is ethnic identity, and, more specifically, how self-esteem, familial bonds and bicultural identity affect and shape people’s perception of their own ethnic identity. The topic of ethnic identity is extremely important, not only because it can be applied to literally everyone on this planet, but because it offers an extremely interesting and useful view into the lives of human beings and why they are the way they are.

Additionally, while self-esteem has already been shown to have a large effect on people and various aspects of their lives, we thought it would be interesting to integrate a more social parameter to contrast our findings against. On the other hand, familial bonds and bicultural identity delivered stimulating stepping points for us to base our research on, since not only was our group interested in a very broad range of variables that effected ethnic identity, but because no study has ever looked at all of these factors together.

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In the 1995 study The Effects of Ethnic Identity, Ethnicity, and Gender on Adolescent Well-Being by Rubén O. Martinez and Richard L. Dukes, 12,386 adolescents were looked at and completed anonymous questionnaires. Participants were given one of two versions of their Likert based questionnaires, which included various scales used to facilitate measurement, and answered questions focusing on demographics, self-esteem, and ethnic identity. The first version of the questionnaire also including questions about self-confidence, extracurricular activities, and work, while the second version of the questionnaire included other questions about family and purpose.

The results showed percentile scores for average ethnic identity by gender and ethnic group – with Black coming in at the 71st percentile, Hispanic at the 68th percentile, Asian at the 60th percentile, mixed ethnicity at the 53rd percentile, Native American at the 46th percentile, and White at the 45th percentile. Furthermore, their results found that age had no significant effect on well-being, and that there was significant variance between ethnicities when it came to not only self-esteem, but purpose in life and self-confidence, too (Martinez & Dukes, 1997).

In another study, published in 2016, Lizette Ojeda, Brandy Pina-Watson and Gerardo Gonzalez took a deep dive into the cultural community of Mexican American college men. Their study, The Role of Social Class, Ethnocultural Adaptation, and Masculinity Ideology on Mexican American College Men’s Well-Being, used a questionnaire to collect information, and focused on 134 Mexican American men attending a Hispanic-Serving Institution near the Texas-Mexico border, with ages ranging from 17 to 42 years old. The majority of participants, 44.4%, were second-generation Mexican Americans, followed relatively closely by first-generation Mexican Americans, coming in at 22.6%.

Participants were asked a range of questions regarding perceived social class, familismo, enculturation and acculturation, Mexican American attitudinal marginalization, masculinity ideology, and well-being, again with many previously developed and accredited scales used to measure and evaluate said topics. Findings indicated that the Mexican American college men who seemed to be most satisfied with their lives adhered to familismo and heritage cultural behaviors, as well as also having an easier time accepting Mexican American cultural norms.

Although familismo and heritage cultural behaviors were not the strongest predictors, they were both highly related to well-being – something that we are assuming will show as true through various cultural backgrounds (Ojeda, Watson & Gonzalez, 2016). Examining Bilingual and Bicultural Identity in Young Students by Ruth Fielding and Lesley Harbon is an study that used observation, questionnaires, and interviews to look at bicultural identity and its development. Fielding and Harbon looked at a bilingual and monolingual program in a public primary school in Sydney, Australia, where 23 students were used to study.

According to the study, approximately 50% of students spoke English exclusively outside of school, in addition to two speaking only French, approximately 25% speaking both French and English, and the final 25% speaking English as well as another language other than French. Students were then taught and observed in various situations with various languages being used, and afterwards 14 of the students were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and nine of them participated in interviews, answering enquiries focusing on their perception of language use, language attitudes, and bilingualism.

Results showed that nearly all students suggested they appreciated being bilingual, and that family connections, language connections and country connections all played noteworthy roles in the children’s bicultural identity – with some children even feeling conflicted between their bilingual and bicultural identities (Fielding & Harbon, 2013). In our study, we looked to gain insight into our participants’ level of presumed ethnic identity through the lens of self-esteem, familial bonds, and bicultural identity.

Our study is different, yet extremely connected to past research discussed above because it is an amalgamation of all the factors we consider important and noteworthy in discussing ethnic identity. In addition to this, we are using an entirely different population than the aforementioned studies used. Our prediction is that the students in our study who have high self-esteem and strong familial bonds will associate more closely with their ethnic identity. Furthermore, it was also presumed that participants with different language or country connections may struggle with or have a lower sense of ethnic identity – perhaps even conflicting at times.

To test for our predictions, X college aged psychology undergraduate students will complete a questionnaire focusing on the above topics. The questionnaire will predominantly consist of Likert based questions, while also including various verified scales. After the study is completed, the data received from our participants will be measured and analysed. Method Participants The participants that were used in our study were X University of California Santa Cruz undergraduates, all of whom were enrolled in Psychology 100: Research Methods. They were not compensated monetarily but were awarded for their attendance through participation credit for the course.

The participants’ mean age was X, with a range of X to X, and X males and X females. When recruiting for participants, we requested a diverse sample of students – particularly in that the group would include as wide of a range of various ethnicities as would allow, and bicultural or multicultural participants too. Materials The materials used in our study included X copies of our consent form, presented in 12-point Times New Roman black font on a single sided piece of white A4 paper.

Additionally, ten black pens and one large manila envelope were used to record and store consent forms. X laptop computers were used in the study for participants to use in the completion of our questionnaire – which was presented in the form of a Google form. Design & Procedure Testing took place on the University of California Santa Cruz’s campus, in the main lower level area of the Earth & Marine Building.

Research was conducted in a single afternoon, between 1:30pm – 3:05pm, on November 13th, 2018. On this day, after volunteering for our experiment, participants were led to a table and set of chairs by our runner, Y, where our researcher and timekeepers, Y and Y, were waiting. After filling out the consent form and placing them face down, completed, into the open manila folder located on a desk separate from other participants and experimenters, participants were asked to listen to a set of instructions from our researcher, Y, whom also told participants that if at any time they felt uncomfortable, they were more than welcome to skip a question or stop filling out the questionnaire.

Following this, they were prompted to fill out the questionnaire, which focused on self-esteem, familial bonds, bicultural identity, some general personality traits, and ultimately, ethnic identity. There was no time limit for answering the questions, every questionnaire was filled out anonymously to erase the possibility for any personal biases, no variables were manipulated in our study, everyone received the same questionnaire, and thus, our study was within subjects. Upon completing the questionnaire, participants were debriefed by our researcher, Y, before being escorted back into room B206 to make place for the next round of participants to join.

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 The Roles of Self-Esteem, Familial Bonds and Bicultural Identity on Ethnic Identity. (2021, Sep 20). Retrieved from