A Mixed Methods Examination of Race and Ethnic Identity in College Students



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The present study compares the salience of ethnic and racial identities across social situations and levels of self-esteem between monoracial majority, monoracial minority and multiracial college students. I utilized mixed methods, including quantitative measures of ethnic identity, racial and ethnic identity salience and self-esteem and qualitative of in-depth interviews. Participants consisted of a racially and ethnically diverse pool of 216 male and female college students from schools across the country. Recruiting occurred via email to cultural organizations at Mount Holyoke College and other colleges and universities across the country. A representative sample of 14 students participated in the qualitative interviews. Using several one-way analyses of variances to determine differences between means within each measure the present study found that monoracial majority students racial and ethnic identities are less salient than those of monoracial minority and multiracial college students. Additionally, self-esteem did not significantly differ across the three racial and ethnic groups. This study contributes to the understanding of how college students across racial and ethnic groups manage their racial and ethnic identities. Furthermore, it provides new evidence concerning the differences in levels of self-esteem across racial and ethnic groups.