Faces of the Future: An Exploration of Biracial Identity Development and Racial Identification in Biracial Young Adults

Faces of the Future: An Exploration of Biracial Identity Development and Racial Identification in Biracial Young Adults

Smith College School for Social Work
Northampton, Massachusetts
119 Pages

Dana L. Benton

A project based upon an independent investigation, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work.

This research study examines how biracial young adults experience the process of racial identification and racial identity development. The purpose of this study was to contribute to the growing body of knowledge budding around this topic. This study utilized a mixed methods approach to explore the racial demographics and quality of relationships in bi racial young adults social networks across their life span; experiences with ascribed and self declared racial identifications, as well as, thoughts, feelings and attitudes about being biracial. The experiences of N=53 biracial young adults, 18 to 35 years of age, were collected through an anonymous, online survey created by the research. The results of this study suggest that (1) Racial self identification in biracial people can vary across person, time and place (2) Social Factors and Racial Group Membership can be important to biracial peoples racial identity development and racial self identification (3) Inquiry into a biracial persons racial identification can evoke a variety of emotions (4) Biracial people’s attitudes about being biracial can range from negative to positive. This study considers these findings and offers clinical practice as well as research implications for future best practices.

Table of Contents



Appendix A: Human Subjects Committee Approval Letter
Appendix B: Informed Consent Form
Appendix C: Recruitment Tool
Appendix D: Referral List
Appendix E: Questionnaire
Appendix F: Figure 1: Age of Respondents
Figure 2: Gender of Respondents
Appendix G: Figure 3: Respondent U.S. Region Reared In
Figure 4: Respondents Country Reared In
Appendix H: Figure 5: Educational Level of Respondents
Figure 6: Income Level of Respondents
Appendix I: Figure 7: Change in Racial Self Identification
Appendix J: Table 1: Racial Composition of Social World
Appendix K: Figure 8: Race of Biological Parents
Figure 9: Quality of Parental Relationship
Appendix L: Figure 10: Quality of Relationships with Extended Family
Figure 11: Familial Acceptance & Participants’ Mixed Race Ancestry
Appendix M: Table 2: Respondents’ Racial Identifications (1)
Table 3: Respondents’ Racial Identifications (2)
Appendix N: Table 4: Respondents’ Racial Identifications (3)
Table 5: Respondents’ Monoracial Identifications
Appendix O: Table 6: Comparison of Racial Self Identifications
Appendix P: Figure 12: Emotional Responses & Racial Inquiries
Figure 13: Emotional Responses & Ascribed Racial Identifications
Appendix Q: Table 7: Grouping of Racial Self Identification Options

Read the entire project here.

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