Relation of multiracial identity statuses to psychosocial functioning and life satisfaction

Relation of multiracial identity statuses to psychosocial functioning and life satisfaction

State University of New York, Albany
129 pages
Publication Number: AAT 3272360
ISBN: 9780549120537

Krista Marguerite Damann

The current “multiracial baby boom” (i.e., the steady increase in this population as well as in the ability to identify them from census data) underscores the need for research on normative experiences of mixed race individuals. The current study, which tested the relation of multiracial identity statuses to psychosocial functioning, was based on the Multiracial-Heritage Awareness and Personal Affiliation (M-HAPA) theory of multiracial identity, developed by Choi-Misailidis (2004). This identity model consists of four multiracial identity statuses: (a) marginal, or lack of affiliation with any racial group, (b) singular, or the affiliation with one racial group to the exclusion of others, (c)  integrated-combinatory, or an identification that combines the racial heritages of both parents, and (d) integrated-universality, or a sense of connection with members of other racial groups. Specifically, the purpose of this study was to explore the degree to which the four multiracial identity statuses as defined in the M-HAPA theory differentially predicted self-reported self-esteem, depression, life satisfaction, and social functioning in a national sample of nonclinical multiracial adults.

Results indicated that as a group, the four M-HAPA statuses significantly predicted substantial, unique proportions of variance in participants’ reported self-esteem, depression, life satisfaction, and social functioning, over and above various demographic factors (i.e., age, annual income, education level, marital status, and current mental health treatment). However, only two of the four identity statuses, marginal and integrated-combinatory, were uniquely associated with the criterion variables. As predicted, the marginal status was associated with relatively poorer psychosocial functioning, whereas the integrated-combinatory was associated with relatively better psychosocial functioning. Moreover, as predicted, no unique relationship was found between singular and levels of depression. As a group, the multiracial identity statuses accounted for the greatest variance in social functioning (21%).

All results are tempered by the mediocre fit of the data to the M-HAPA model, as indicated by a confirmatory factor analysis and by the small proportion of the sample endorsing “some agreement” with the marginal and singular identity statuses.

The results are discussed with respect to theory, research, and practice. Suggestions for further study of this understudied population are provided.

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