The development of ethnic identity during adolescence

Sabine Elizabeth French, Edward Seidman, Larue Allen, J. Lawrence Aber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of ethnic identity is a critical facet of adolescence, particularly for adolescents of color. In order to examine the developmental trajectory of ethnic identity, African American, Latino American, and European American early and middle adolescents (N = 420) were assessed over 3 years. Two components of ethnic identity were assessed - group-esteem was found to rise for both early and middle adolescents; exploration rose for middle adolescents. African Americans and Latino Americans were lower in group-esteem but have greater increases than European Americans, particularly across a school transition. The course of ethnic identity development during early and middle adolescence, the role of school context, and the variability in developmental trajectories among racial and ethnic groups are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Adolescents
  • Ethnic identity development
  • Longitudinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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