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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An exploration of healthy adjustment in biracial young adults
by Nolfo, Tamu Corrine, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2008, 167; 3329708
Abstract (Summary)

Given the historically negative views of interracial marriages and mixed race children proliferating the popular American social consciousness, it is legitimate to question whether mixed race youth can achieve healthy psychosocial development in this country, and if so, what are the factors that contribute to positive outcomes despite adverse or hostile sociopolitical circumstances?

There were a total of 30 participants in this study: 13 male and 17 female, ages 22-26, living in various regions of the United States, who had one parent who identified as White/Caucasian and one who identified as Asian/Asian American, Black/African American, or Hispanic/Latino/a. The participants were free of a history of felony convictions, substance abuse and suicide attempts. They completed both an informational questionnaire and a 90-minute telephone interview.

Results of the study highlighted that biracial individuals are not doomed because of their dual heritage, despite this emphasis in earlier research. It is entirely possible to be well adjusted in a number of respects: meeting personal expectations; attainment of close family and other social relationships; comfortable with ethnic/racial identity; bicultural competence and sense of inclusion in desired community(ies); social justice; and sense of self-efficacy in raising own multiracial child(ren).

There is not agreement from the participants on a set formula for success, but overriding themes include having a loving and supportive family that preferably stays intact; connections with all of one's cultural heritage, but not necessarily with family or community members who are belittling or disrespectful; egalitarian messages that neither promote self-oppression nor self-superiority; opportunities to explore, normalize and celebrate the mixed race experience; and the freedom to self-define over time and context, even when these choices are not congruent with family or community expectations.

All individuals, families and communities in this study demonstrated the ability to both support and hinder healthy biracial development. Results did not differ with regard to demographic nuances of gender, racial composition, socio-economic status (SES), or geographic location.

Indexing (document details)
School: University of California, Davis
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 69/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Adjustment, Biracial, Interracial, Mixed race, Multiracial, Young adults
Publication Number: 3329708
ISBN: 978-0-549-83932-3
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