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Changes in Racial Identity Beliefs from Emerging Adulthood to Adulthood

Sat, March 23, 12:45 to 2:00pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 1, Exhibit Hall B

Integrative Statement

Racial identity—the significance and qualitative meaning of race (Sellers et al., 1998)—has been identified as both a promotive and protective factor for Black youth well-being (Lee & Ahn, 2013). While racial identity has been examined throughout the lifespan, there has been relatively less attention paid to the study of racial identity across developmental periods or during developmental transitions (Chavous et al., 2017). Nevertheless, the literature on emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2000) suggests that this developmental epoch serves as a critical stage of identity development, suggesting that changes at this stage of life could have down-the-line implications for well-being outcomes. The current investigation sought to better understand contextual predictors (e.g., gender, educational attainment, racial discrimination) of change and stability in Black racial identity. Racial identity beliefs from participants (N= 604; 49.2% males) in the Flint Adolescent Study were utilized. Scores from the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI; Sellers et al., 1997) were averaged across four-time points that reflect emerging adulthood (waves 5 to 8; ages 19-23) and four-time points representing adulthood (waves 9 to 12; ages 29-33). Latent profile analysis (Collins & Lanza, 2010) was used to identity patterns of racial identity beliefs during emerging adulthood and adulthood (“High”, “Moderate”, “Low”). Next, latent transition analysis was used to estimate the probabilities of transitioning from one racial identity profile to another from emerging adulthood to adulthood. Results from subsequent multinomial regression analyses suggested that racial discrimination may influence transition probabilities across the racial identity profiles from emerging adulthood to adulthood. These findings extend previous investigations on the mutability of Black racial identity (Chavous et al, 2017; Seaton et al., 2012), and set the stage for elucidating psychosocial outcomes associated with these identity-related changes.

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