Year Published: 2003

Authors: Allison J. Tracy, Ph.D., Sumru Erkut, Ph.D.

Based on data provided by the 90,000 adolescents in the in-school survey of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this paper investigates whether adolescents who claim mixed ancestry report more adjustment problems (higher levels of depression, substance use, health problems) than their peers who claim a single ancestry. The approach was designed to examine whether mixed-ancestry adolescents reveal tendencies that can be expected from characteristics of their constituent ancestries, or whether the phenomenon of mixed ancestry is a unique experience that cannot be explained on the basis of constituent ancestries. The results showed that adolescents of some mixed ancestry combinations report more adjustment problems than the single ancestry adolescents in their constituent race/ethnicities on many but not all indicators of social adjustment. Adjustment problems were more prevalent among boys of mixed ancestry, especially among boys whose constituent ancestry included an Asian or a white identity.

Projects: Adolescent Mixed-Ancestry Identity: A Measurement Pilot

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