CitationBenson, Janel & Elder Jr, Glen H. (2008). The development of adult identity: Cross-race similarities and differences. 2008 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center.
AbstractStudies show that young adult age identity development differs by race/ethnicity, with African Americans having earlier and Asian Americans later identity development than their same aged white peers. We do not know, however, what these identities mean developmentally for these different groups of youth, particularly in regard to psychosocial maturation. To address this gap, we integrate sociological and psychological approaches to examine identity as a multi dimensional construct composed of both subjective age and psychosocial maturation. Employing Wave III data, we used cluster analytic techniques to create four age identity profiles from several indicators of subjective age and psychosocial maturation. Next, we examine racial/ethnic differences in age identity profiles, and then we used a nested multinomial regression technique to investigate whether adolescent pubertal development, psychological maladjustment, and family context (all measured at Wave I) mediate these racial differences. We find Asian Americans are more likely than their white peers to have identity profiles characterized by low social age and maturation, and these differences can be explained in part by adolescent pubertal development and family context. In addition, we find that White youth are more likely to have late adult identities than their African American counterparts, and these differences are attenuated by psychological maladjustment and completely explained by adolescent family context. Finally, white youth are more likely than their African American peers to have pseudo adult identities marked by high age identity and low social maturation, and our results show that psychological maladjustment accounts for some of this effect.
Reference TypeConference proceeding
Book Title2008 Add Health Users Conference
Elder Jr, Glen H.