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Ego Development and Ethnic Identity Formation in Rural American Indian Adolescents

Denise L. Newman
Child Development
Vol. 76, No. 3 (May - Jun., 2005), pp. 734-746
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3696462
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ego Development and Ethnic Identity Formation in Rural American Indian Adolescents
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Abstract

Ethnic identity development was assessed in the context of ego development in 12- to 15-year-old students from a Southeastern American Indian community. Self-protective was the modal level and was characterized by awareness of ethnic group membership but little exploration or self-reflection. Impulsive adolescents had the least developed ethnic identities and highest levels of interpersonal vulnerability. Conformist adolescents expressed positive feelings about ethnic group affiliation, described relationships as harmonious, but demonstrated moderate social anxiety. Postconformist adolescents had the highest levels of agency, social competence, and identity achievement, but also had high levels of psychological distress and family conflict. Adolescent identity strivings may be understood in context with the level and timing of psychosocial maturity, for which ego development appears a useful marker.

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