Ethnic identity development and ethnic discrimination: Examining longitudinal associations with adjustment for Mexican-origin adolescent mothers

Russell B. Toomey, Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor, Kimberly Updegraff, Laudan B. Jahromi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Few studies examine normative developmental processes among teenage mothers. Framed from a risk and resilience perspective, this prospective study examined the potential for ethnic identity status (e.g., diffuse, achieved), a normative developmental task during adolescence, to buffer the detrimental effects of discrimination on later adjustment and self-esteem in a sample of 204 Mexican-origin adolescent mothers. Ethnic discrimination was associated with increases in depressive symptoms and decreases in self-esteem over time, regardless of ethnic identity status. However, ethnic discrimination was only associated with increases in engagement in risky behavior among diffuse adolescents, suggesting that achieved or foreclosed identities buffered the risk of ethnic discrimination on later risky behavior. Findings suggest that ethnic identity resolution (i.e., the component shared by those in foreclosed and achieved statuses) may be a key cultural factor to include in prevention and intervention efforts aimed to reduce the negative effects of ethnic discrimination on later externalizing problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)825-833
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013



  • Ethnic discrimination
  • Ethnic identity
  • Latina adolescents
  • Risky behavior
  • Teen parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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