Identity Denied: Comparing American or White Identity Denial and Psychological Health Outcomes Among Bicultural and Biracial People

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2018-08-14 18:19Z by Steven

Identity Denied: Comparing American or White Identity Denial and Psychological Health Outcomes Among Bicultural and Biracial People

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
First Published 2018-08-07
DOI: 10.1177/0146167218788553

Analia F. Albuja
Department of Psychology
Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

Diana T. Sanchez, Associate Professor of Psychology
Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

Sarah E. Gaither, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Because bicultural and biracial people have two identities within one social domain (culture or race), their identification is often challenged by others. Although it is established that identity denial is associated with poor psychological health, the processes through which this occurs are less understood. Across two high-powered studies, we tested identity autonomy, the perceived compatibility of identities, and social belonging as mediators of the relationship between identity denial and well-being among bicultural and biracial individuals. Bicultural and biracial participants who experienced challenges to their American or White identities felt less freedom in choosing an identity and perceived their identities as less compatible, which was ultimately associated with greater reports of depressive symptoms and stress. Study 2 replicated these results and measured social belonging, which also accounted for significant variance in well-being. The results suggest the processes were similar across populations, highlighting important implications for the generalizability to other dual-identity populations.

Read or purchase the article here.

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She’s Biracial, And It’s Not A Secret: Meet Duke Psychologist Sarah Gaither

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-21 23:49Z by Steven

She’s Biracial, And It’s Not A Secret: Meet Duke Psychologist Sarah Gaither

The State of Things
WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio
2018-02-19

Amanda Magnus, Producer

Frank Stasio, Host


Sarah Gaither is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke, and a leading researcher in the field of biracial identity.
Courtesy of Sarah Gaither

Multiracial people are the fastest growing demographic group in the country. The U.S. Census Bureau projects the nation’s multiracial population will triple by 2060, but not much research has been done on this group. Sarah Gaither is hoping to change that. She’s an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, and she is also a biracial woman.

Listen to the interview (00:47:45) here.

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What You’ll Never Understand About Being Biracial

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-02-15 01:37Z by Steven

What You’ll Never Understand About Being Biracial

Marie Claire
2018-02-05

Brianna Moné


Courtesy from left: Samantha Ferguson, Sarah Heikkinen, Kayla Boyd

Black people don’t have freckles.”

Those were the words that reverberated through Samantha Ferguson’s middle school–aged head after telling a boy at school that she was half-black and half-white. Classmates, confused by her appearance, had been hounding her with questions like, “What are you?”

Before middle school, Ferguson didn’t think she was different from other children. But, she says, the students at her predominately-white school, “dressed a certain way, looked a certain way, their hair was straight. My skin is not dark, but it’s a different tone, which made me stand out.”

Like all middle-schoolers Ferguson had crushes and wanted to be popular. “I could never be popular, though, because I didn’t look like everyone else. Boys didn’t have crushes on me because my hair was frizzy and I had freckles.”

It was the first time she realized that people are different colors—and receive different treatment because of that. “I didn’t know if I should tell my classmates I’m white, or if I should tell them that I’m black.” She didn’t know where she fit in. She didn’t know how to identify herself.

“Identity is understanding who we are in the world,” says Kerry Ann Rockquemore, co-author of Beyond Black: Biracial Identity in America. “Part of that is how others understand us, and the other part is how we understand ourselves.”

For many biracial people, that understanding can be both elusive and arbitrary. From checking boxes on forms to fulfilling quotas, race is used to define and control so many aspects of everyday life. And biracial people are constantly faced with a choice…

“It really upset me. I’m a human being,” recalls Ferguson, now 24, a third-grade teacher in Glen Burnie, Maryland. “I wanted to ask them, ‘What are you?’” …

…“We have an expectation in society of what a black person should look like, or what a white person should look like,” says Sarah Gaither, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. “And if you don’t look like that, that’s disruptful.”

Gaither, who is biracial, says she’s treated like a “party game:” “‘Guess what race she is. I bet you’ll never guess,’ they say. I don’t match anyone’s expectations.”…

Read the entire article here.

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