Honors College Thesis

Multiracial Identity Development: Parental Transmission, Belonging and Mental Health

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  • The present study explores the topic of Multiracial Identity Development and how parents play an important role in the identity development of children. The role of parents becomes crucial for parents of Multiracial children as they transmit cultural values, beliefs, language, and practices. Although models of racial identity development exist, many are focused on White biracials, and as a result, the nuances of other minoritized mixes are lost. Overall, the literature around Multiculturalism/Multiracialism is often viewed as sharing culture with “whiteness” and ignores the experiences of balancing non-white American cultures. There were three aims to this study: (1) Language and proximity to family are the main ways of cultural transmission, (2) Parental family enculturation may result in better mental health, critical consciousness, and belonging outcomes, and (3) Marginalized experiences can exacerbate psychological distress. For this study, participants (N = 83) completed an extensive questionnaire assessing racial and ethnic identity, along with scales that measured language transmission, proximity to family, mental health symptoms, critical consciousness, and sense of belongingness. The data revealed some patterns in the role of language and proximity to family in cultural transmission. Significant correlations between parental family enculturation and enhanced mental health, heightened critical consciousness, and stronger feelings of belonging. Lastly, the data suggested no differences in mental health outcomes between White vs. Ethnic Dominant Multiracial racial groups. However, due to missing scales and measures, the results of the data are limited. This research ultimately highlights the complexity and nuances behind Multiracial identity development, urging the importance of studying the understudied group of Multiracial individuals.
  • Keywords: Multiracial, Multicultural, Identity Development, Belonging, Minority,
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