The Role of Social and Personal Identities in Self-Esteem Among Ethnic Minority College Students

Melinda A. Gonzales-Backen, Larry E. Dumka, Roger E. Millsap, Hyung Yoo, Seth J. Schwartz, Byron L. Zamboanga, Robert S. Weisskirch, Liliana Rodriguez, Linda G. Castillo, Su Yeong Kim, Elissa J. Brown, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Alexander T. Vazsonyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study examined the latent personal-social identity profiles that emerged from simultaneous consideration of ethnic, national (United States), and personal identities among ethnic minority college students (N = 3,009) as well as how personal and social identities are jointly associated with self-esteem. Results indicated that the structure of personal-social identity profiles significantly differed across ethnicity, but also indicated some commonalities. The study identified three profiles among Blacks, four among Asian Americans, and two among Latinos. Some personal-social identity profiles were common across multiple ethnic groups, but others were unique within one specific ethnic group. Overall, the profiles indicated important associations between ethnic identity, U.S. identity, and personal identity. These profiles were linked with self-esteem such that individuals who reported high levels of multiple social and personal identities had the highest self-esteem compared to other profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-220
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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