Ethnic Identity, Stress, and Personal Recovery Outcomes Among Young Adults With Serious Mental Health Conditions

Kiara Moore, Michelle R. Munson, Rei Shimizu, Aaron H. Rodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Serious mental illnesses (SMI) often occur during early adulthood, just as young people are developing important aspects of their identity that can affect their recovery. Positive ethnic identity development is associated with stress coping and psychological well-being in young people. But, there is limited research to indicate how individual experiences of belonging and attachment to one’s ethnic group influence personal recovery processes among young adults livingwith SMI. Method: Young adults livingwith SMI (95% identified as ethnic/racial minorities) were recruited from four outpatient psychiatric rehabilitation programs (N = 83). Multivariate regressions were used to examine relationships between predictors (demographics, psychiatric symptomatology, ethnic identity) and the dependent variables (perceived stress and personal recovery). Results: A stronger, more developed ethnic identity and fewer depressive symptoms were associated with higher ratings of personal recovery. Increases in psychiatric symptoms predicted increased perceived stress. Post hoc analyses showed that Black, Latino/a, and multiracial study participants’ ethnic identity ratings were similar to those of same ethnic/racial group of young adults without SMI. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Ethnic identity development could be a significant psychosocial factor shaping mental health recovery among minority young people living with SMI. Several factors associated with psychological well-being among ethnic and racial minority youth may account for this, including adaptive coping, social support, and a buffering effect against racism.Our findings indicate that assessing and developing a young person’s ethnic identity-related strengths and resources as a means for improving the personalization of recovery services and enhancing the quality of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-323
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 14 2022


  • Ethnic identity
  • Perceived stress
  • Recovery
  • Serious mental illness
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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