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Subjective Wellbeing and Ethnic Identity Who do we think we are? Wendy Kennedy Deakin University Annotated Version
Cultural Diversity in Australia 1. ABS (2004) 2. Khoo, McDonald, Giorgas & Birrel (2002), DIMIA © Wendy Kennedy st Generation 1 23%4.4 million 2 nd Generation 2 20%3.8 million Total 43% 8.2 million Almost half the Australian population was either born overseas (1 st generation) or have parents born overseas (2 nd generation). The psychological wellbeing of a population is an important goal for governments and others. Given the multicultural composition of the Australian population, a closer examination of relationships between ethnic identity and subjective wellbeing is warranted
Aims of Paper Nature of ethnic identity; Ethnic ID & SWB relationships; Measurement issues; and Opportunities for further research © Wendy Kennedy 2006
(Abdelal et al., 2001) Ethnic identity is one of many types of social identity. The literature can be divided into two main levels of analysis. This presentation will focus on personal identity.
Developing an Ethnic Identity Relationships with others © Wendy Kennedy 2006 The literature in this presentation addresses (1) Self Understanding through developing an ethnic identity and (2) Connectedness & Affiliation through activities that foster relationships with others of the same ethnic group.
Ethnic Identity Definitions Ethnicity: ‘a characteristic of racial group membership on the basis of some commonly shared features…genetics play a part’ (Jamal 2003:1601). Ethnic Identity: ‘a subjective belief in a common descent… whether or not an objective blood relationship exists’ (Abdelal et al., 2001:7) Ethnic identity is self appointed….. (Jasinskaja-Lahti & Liebkind, 1999) © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Within Group Differences The degree to which individuals consider themselves to have an ethnic identity can vary dramatically within the same cultural group (Chung and Fischer, 2001). Differences can occur within a single family unit (Perkins 2004). © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Not all members of an ethnic group value their ethnic heritage.
Bi-cultural, Fluid Identity Bi-cultural individuals ‘move between different cultural meaning systems in response to situation cues’ (Benet-Martinez et. al., 2002:493). Cultural Frame Switching (Hong et al., 2003). © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Lebanese-Australian youth use their dual identities to negotiate complex social situations; the meaning of being Lebanese varies significantly depending on the situation (Noble et al., 1999). Many people in a multicultural society hold two or more cultural identities.
Ethnic groups are generally treated as homogenous, exhaustive and mutually exclusive (Brubaker & Cooper 2000; Runnymede Trust 2003; Poynting & Noble 2004). Group level analysis can help predict voting behaviour and measure relationships between government, society and business (Abdelal et al., 2001). Statistical Analysis Measurement of intensity, attachment and salience of ethnic identity is best undertaken at the individual level (Abdelal et al. 2005; Shearer 2003; Davis 1999). © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Identity Theory Identity is not a static construct but one that continues to develop throughout a person’s life time (Erikson 1968). Identity statuses based on Erikson’s work – diffusion, foreclosure, moratorium, achieved (Marcia 1980). Adaptation of identity statuses to a three stage ethnic identity development model (Phinney 1989). © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Ethnic Identity Development* © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Limited understanding or commitment to ethnic group. No individual opinion formed regarding the ethnic group. A more detailed exploration of ethnic background is undertaken. Ethnic membership is valued. Ethnicity may become the most important social identity. A high level of self understanding via integration of several forms of identity into a harmonious whole. * Phinney (1989, 1992)
Positive SWB Links Self-esteem, personal confidence Purpose in life Academic achievement Less substance abuse Lower youth aggression Pro-social attitudes Protection against racism / stereotyping Psychosocial adjustment © Wendy Kennedy 2006 An achieved level of ethnic identity has been linked to the following positive outcomes:
Homeostatic Model: Ethnic Identity Focus © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Source: Adapted from Cummins 2000:137
Ethnic Identity Achieved….. © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Phinney (1989, 1992) Results for achieved ethnic identity have been relatively consistent Achieved ethnic identity has shown correlations with SWB through self- esteem. Establishing unique contributions or causal relationships will require more research.
Homeostatic Model Achieved Ethnic ID © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Source: Adapted from Cummins 2000:137
Self-esteem Cognitive Buffer One of the most widely studies aspects of the self (Bracey, Bamaca & Umana-Taylor 2004). Numerous studies have shown that self- esteem has the strongest correlation with SWB of the three cognitive buffers (Davern 2004). The way people obtain a sense of self- esteem depends on the cultural context in which they are involved (Heine et al., 1999). © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Ethnic Identity and Self-esteem Social Identity Theory purports that the primary purpose of an identity is to maintain and enhance personal self-esteem (Tajfel and Turner 1986). © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Positive relationships between an achieved level of ethnic identity and self esteem have been found in much of the literature (Phinney 1991, Phinney & Chavira 1992; Lorenzo-Hernandez & Ouellette 1998; Smith et al., 1999).
Unique Characteristics Groups are endowed with their own rich culture, traditions, and structure providing people with a sense of ethnic dignity and higher levels of self-esteem (Phinney & Chavira 1992; Verkuyten & Masson 1995). © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Unique characteristics of an ethnic group may contribute to higher levels of self- esteem.
Causal Relationships? © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Self-esteem and ethnic identity interact simultaneously (Phinney & Chavira 1992) : ethnic identity = self-esteem……. self-esteem = motivation to explore ethnic identity
Perceived Control Cognitive Buffer © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Perceived Control Cognitive Buffer © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Creates positive affective states rather than negative states Luszczynska, Scholz & Schwarzer 2005). An individual’s general belief that they can influence important outcomes in their life (Folkman 1984).
Primary & Secondary Control Primary control: direct action and a belief that one can control or change the immediate environment to meet one’s needs (Rothbaum, Weisz & Snyder 1982). Secondary control: accommodating existing environmental forces rather than initiating change through active behaviour (Rothbaum, Weisz & Snyder 1982). © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Primary & Secondary Control Christianity: ‘although embedded within the context of secondary control that frames most religions [Christianity] reflects an emphasis on primary control’ (Weisz, Rothbaum & Blackburn 1984:961). © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Zen Buddhism: secondary control through interpretation or reframing perspectives on events and existing realities (Weisz, Rothbaum Blackburn 1984). Relationships between religion/spirituality and the perceived control cognitive buffer are evident in the literature. Ethnic identity may also play a part in the primary/secondary control relationship where religion and spirituality are an integral part of ethnic identity….further research is needed.
Impediments to SWB © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Ethnic identity can be attributed to an individual from external sources. Ethnic conflict, ethnic discrimination and conflicting values with the dominant cultural group can create stressful situations that may be inappropriate or impossible to deal with using primary control.
Secondary Control at Work Ethnic conflict and challenges to ethnic self can be addressed through secondary control: Making comparisons with groups of a similar social status rather than with the majority population (Lorenzo-Hernandez & Ouellette 1998); Devaluing attributes in which the ethnic group has limitations and overemphasising those in which the ethnic group excels (Lorenzo-Hernandez & Ouellette 1998); Attributing the group’s perceived limitations to prejudice in society (Lorenzo-Hernandez & Ouellette 1998); Denying that prejudice towards the minority group exists (Smith 1991); Projecting one’s own prejudice onto another (Smith 1991); and Finding other reasons to explain the ethnic conflict (Smith 1991). © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Optimism Cognitive Buffer © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Optimism Cognitive Buffer © Wendy Kennedy 2006 A positive view of the future and a conviction that contingencies in life can be successfully dealt with (Davern 2004). Belief in a more powerful other reduces ‘fear of loss of control that stems from the unknown’ (Grewal et al., 2004:757). Received the least attention in the literature on ethnic identity and subjective wellbeing combined. Implied links to ethnic identity but further research is required.
Cognitive Buffer Summary © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Cognitive Buffer Summary An achieved level of ethnic identity in relation to SWB is described in the literature as: © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Ethnic group identification clarifies one’s own sense of identity, creates a sense of pride and self-worth. An enhancement to the self-esteem cognitive buffer; Can be protected from the effects of negative ethnic stereotyping, discrimination and ethnic conflict via the secondary control cognitive buffer; and Related to optimism to some extent.
Beyond the Cognitive Buffers Relationships……….. © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Other potential links between ethnic identity and subjective wellbeing may be found via the Personal Relationships domain of the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI)
Relationships A sense of connectedness to others forms the framework from which life satisfaction judgements are made (Vaughn et al., 1985; Reis et al., 2000; Uliando 2004). Personal relationships is one of the main predictors of SWB in the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) (Mellor, Cummins & Loquet 1999). Membership of a collective such as family, ethnic group or a country creates a sense of personal identity, and feelings of pride and self-respect (Taylor & Brown 1988, Davis 1999). © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Personal Wellbeing Index* * International Wellbeing Group (2006) © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Relationships can be viewed variously as overlapping categories that involve: family (parents, siblings, children), and friendships (classified as intimate, loving, loyal, and harmonious) (Mellor, Cummins & Loquet 1999). Personal Relationships is one of seven life domains that provide a unique contribution to SWB via the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI). Homeostatic model of subjective wellbeing
Homeostatic Model © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Source: Adapted from Cummins 2000:137 The development and maintenance of relationships through a collective (e.g., ethnic group, family group) provides resources that help to counter the effects of negative life events. It is important to note that external resources such as personal relationships cannot be completely separated from the cognitive buffers as there is a natural overlap and interconnection between them.
Ethnic Identity - Causal Variable Causal variables that show a relationship to SWB via the life domains in the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI): Gender Age Income © Wendy Kennedy 2006 Can ethnic identity be used as a causal variable? Ethnic identity in the context of the PWI has not been fully explored.
Ethnic Identity and the PWI The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index Survey tested the PWI domains against three ethnicity related categories (citizenship, country of birth, ethnic origin), but no significant differences were found (Cummins et al., 2003). Ethnic identity categories: Phinney’s (1989) developmental approach to ethnic identity based on the Diffusion, Moratorium and Achieved categories may provide an opportunity to learn more about potential relationships. Semi-abstract PWI: The question ‘How satisfied are you with your personal relationships?’ may be too general to capture situations where ethnic identity salience is at its strongest eg: consuming traditional ethnic food with family. May be determined with further testing……… © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Feelings of connectedness and relationships with others are important in the maintenance of SWB; Being part of a collective is one way of obtaining connections with other people via common interests; and Ethnic group identification and involvement provides opportunities for establishing and maintaining relationships. Relationships Summary © Wendy Kennedy 2006
Research Opportunities Relationships between ethnic identity and the control and optimism cognitive buffers; Relationships between spirituality/religion and SWB, particularly in the context of ethnic identity; and Ethnic identity and the Relationships domain of the PWI. © Wendy Kennedy 2006 A positive relationship between ethnic identity and SWB is demonstrated in the literature but additional research is warranted:
Conclusion Further development of empirical relationships between ethnic identity and SWB has important implications for the way in which ethnic identity and the activities associated with its expression are viewed. A work in progress………… © Wendy Kennedy 2006 An interesting time to be involved in SWB research as its theoretical evolution continues.
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Davern, M. T., (2004), Subjective wellbeing as an affective construct, Unpublished PhD thesis, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Davis, T. C., (1999), Revisiting group attachment: ethnic and national identity, Political Psychology, 20 (1) Erikson, E. H., (1968), Identity: Youth and crisis, Norton, New York. Folkman, S., (1984), Personal control and stress and coping processes: A theoretical analysis, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46 (4) Grewal, I., Nazroo, J., Bajekal, M., Blane, D., & Lewis, J., (2004), Influences on quality of life: A qualitative investigation of ethnic differences among older people in England, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30, Hong, Y., Benet-Martinez, V., Chiu, C., & Morris, M. W., (2003), Boundaries of cultural influence: Construct activation as a mechanism for cultural differences in social perception, Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, 34 (4), July 2003, Heine, S. J., Lehman, D. R., Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S., (1999), Is there a universal need for positive self-regard? Psychological Review, 106 (4) International Wellbeing Group, (2005), Personal Wellbeing Index, Australian Centre on Quality of Life, Deakin University, Melbourne. Jamal, A., (2003), Marketing in a multicultural world: The interplay of marketing, ethnicity and consumption, European Journal of Marketing, 37 (11/12) Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., & Liebkind, K., (1999), Exploration of ethnic identity among Russian-speaking immigrant adolescents in Finland, Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, 30 (4), July 1999, Khoo, S., McDonald, P., Giorgas, D., & Birrell, B., (2002), Second Generation Australians, Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), April 2002 Luszczynska, A., Scholz, U., Schwarzer, R., (2005), The General Self-efficacy scale: Multicultural validation studies, The Journal of Psychology, 139 (5) Lorenzo-Hernandez, J., & Ouellette, S.C., (1998), Ethnic identity, self-esteem, and values in Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and African Americans, Journal of Applied Psychology, 28 (21) © Wendy Kennedy 2006
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Smith E. P., Walker, K., Fields, L., Brookins, C. C., & Seay, R. C., (1999), Ethnic identity and its relationship to self-esteem, perceived efficacy and prosocial attitudes in early adolescence, Journal of Adolescence, 22, Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of inter-group behavior, in S. Worchel and L. W. Austin (eds.), Psychology of Intergroup Relations, Nelson-Hall, Chicago. Taylor, E. S., & Brown, J. D., (1988), Illusion and well-being: A social psychological perspective on mental health, Psychological bulletin, 103 (2) Uliando, A. E., (2004), Predictors of general and daily subjective well-being, Unpublished Post Graduate Diploma of Psychology thesis, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Vaughn, D. A., Kashner, J. B., Stock, W. A., & Richards, M., (1985), A structural model of subjective wellbeing: A comparison of ethnicity, Social Indicators Research, 16, Verkuyten, M., & Masson, K., (1995), 'New Racism', self-esteem, and ethnic relations among minority and majority youth in the Netherlands, social Behaviour and Personality, 23 (2) Weisz, J. R., Rothbaum, F. M., & Blackburn, T. C., (1984), Standing out and standing in: The psychological control in America and Japan, American Psychologist, 39 (9) © Wendy Kennedy 2006
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