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1 - Ethnic Identity Development and Cross-Ethnic Friendship in Multiple U.S. Regions in an Uncertain Political Climate

Sat, April 14, 3:45 to 5:15pm, Hilton, Third Floor, Directors Row 2

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

During the 2016 election cycle, similar to 2008, race/ethnicity became central themes. The increased salience of race/ethnicity may have again had an effect on adolescents’ ethnic identity development (Fuller-Rowell & Doan, 2010) and cross-ethnic relations. The proposed symposium encompasses a range of methodologies (i.e., daily report, longer-term longitudinal, interviews) to explore the 2016 election’s potential impact on late adolescents. Study 1 examined changes in ethnic minority 10th grade students’ ethnic identity before, during, and after the election using daily diaries. Results suggest the election may have undermined adolescents’ public regard, but also may have boosted ethnic centrality. Study 2 examined college freshmen’s change in ethnic identity from before to after the election, compared to a cohort with the same data from the year prior to the election, and further compared the cohorts on their college cross-ethnic friendships. Like Study 1, students experienced increases in centrality but also decreases in private regard. Election year students also reported fewer cross-ethnic college friendships than did students in the cohort prior to the election. Study 3 interviewed undergraduate students to explicitly examine (cf. Studies 1 and 2) their interracial friendships. Most students indicated that the election had impacted their interracial friendship, but in a positive direction. Combined the three studies suggest the election may have had some impact on late adolescents’ ethnic identity and cross-ethnic relationships, but some of those effects may have been positive. The discussant will consider the findings in the context of data collection timing (relative to election) and methodology.

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