Feb. 17, 2009 Many people assume that individuals who identify with one race should be better off than multiracial individuals who identify with a mixed race heritage. However, a new study in the Journal of Social Issues found that students who reported they were from multiple ethnic/racial groups were more engaged at school and felt better in general than those who reported they were from a single group.
Kevin Binning, Ph.D., Miguel Unzueta, Ph.D., Yuen Huo, Ph.D., and Ludwin Molina, Ph.D., surveyed roughly 180 high school students to see how they were doing in school and how they felt in general: were they experiencing stress, isolation, etc.? The study compared multiracial students who reported being from a single racial or ethnic group (i.e. Black, Mexican, White) with multiracial students who reported they were from various racial and ethnic groups (i.e. multiracial, Black and White, etc.).
On several indicators (i.e. happiness, stress, citizenship behavior, and school alienation), students who reported they were from multiple groups were more engaged in school and felt better than those who reported they were from a single group.
Results suggest there may be a positive link between the tendency to embrace a multiracial identity and social and personal well-being.
“The population of multiracial individuals is currently large and is likely to grow over time,” the authors note. “Our study provides preliminary evidence that encouraging such individuals to embrace their multiracial identity may yield positive results not only for them, but possibly for society more generally.”
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- Binning et al. The Interpretation of Multiracial Status and Its Relation to Social Engagement and Psychological Well-Being. Journal of Social Issues, 2009; 65 (1): 35 DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2008.01586.x
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