Positive feelings about race, ethnicity tied to stronger development in minority youth

February 3, 2014, Society for Research in Child Development

The more positively minority youth feel about their ethnicity or race, the fewer symptoms of depression and emotional and behavior problems they have. That's the conclusion of a new meta-analysis summarizing 46 existing studies.

Published in the journal Child Development, the meta-analysis was conducted by researchers at Brown University, the University of Minnesota, Arizona State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Miami.

The researchers also found that who had positive feelings about their racial or ethnic identity had better social interactions and self-esteem, did well in school, and had fewer problems with drugs or alcohol.

"Ethnic and racial identity is a complex issue among minority youth. Feeling positively about ethnic or is not going to solve all the issues face, but this research shows that it clearly helps them in many ways," says Deborah Rivas-Drake, formerly at Brown University, now associate professor of psychology and education at the University of Michigan, who led the meta-analysis. "This research also refutes the notion that positive racial or is somehow related to having not-so-positive attitudes toward academic achievement."

In their analysis, the researchers sought to determine how ethnic-racial affect—that is, how an individual feels about his or her ethnicity or race—is related to well-being, distress, health risk, and academic adjustment in youth; most previous research in this area has focused only on psychological outcomes. They also looked at how links between positive ethnic-racial affect and the different outcomes varied across age and ethnic-racial groups. Together, the 46 studies they reviewed looked at African American, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and American Indian youth in the United States, primarily middle and .

"Our findings show that the positive associations between ethnic-racial affect and key outcomes function similarly across groups of children differing in age, gender, and particular ethnic-racial categories," adds Rivas-Drake. "Young people who are exposed to experiences that promote about their ethnic or racial heritage—such as when minority parents teach their children about their ethnic heritage or instill pride in their race—may reap not only psychological benefits but also greater commitment and connection to academics. They may also have less risk of unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and drug use, all of which have important long-term implications for health, well-being, and economic opportunity."

Explore further: A new look at the development of minority children

Related Stories

A new look at the development of minority children

December 17, 2013
A new University of Maryland-led study challenges the assumption that minority and immigrant children are most often disadvantaged or at-risk. The study, led by Dr. Natasha Cabrera, an associate professor in the College of ...

Study finds acute ischemic stroke (AIS) outcomes vary by race

July 2, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Older white patients in the U.S. have the highest rate of mortality from certain types of stroke among all racial and ethnic groups, a study by health researchers at the University at Albany finds.

Lumbar spinal stenosis surgery rates vary by race

January 14, 2014
(HealthDay)—Rates of hospitalization for lumbar spinal stenosis surgery vary significantly by race and ethnic group, according to a study published in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

Dementia risk greatest for older Native-Americans and African-Americans with diabetes

December 11, 2013
In the first study to look at racial and ethnic differences in dementia risk among older adults with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that dementia was much higher among Native Americans and African-Americans and lowest ...

Distrust of ethnic minorities 'cancelled out' by positive contact

January 20, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A study reveals that the level of distrust felt by white British people towards ethnic minorities rises in line with the diversity of their local area. Yet the more day-to-day contact they have with each ...

Some minorities believe they are less likely to get cancer compared to whites, study shows

April 17, 2013
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues analyzed national data to investigate the differences in cancer prevention beliefs by race and ethnicity. They found that minorities, including blacks, Asians and Hispanics, ...

Recommended for you

People with prosthetic arms less affected by common illusion

January 22, 2018
People with prosthetic arms or hands do not experience the "size-weight illusion" as strongly as other people, new research shows.

Study of learning and memory problems in OCD helps young people unlock potential at school

January 22, 2018
Adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have widespread learning and memory problems, according to research published today. The findings have already been used to assist adolescents with OCD obtain the help ...

Intensive behavior therapy no better than conventional support in treating teenagers with antisocial behavior

January 19, 2018
Research led by UCL has found that intensive and costly multisystemic therapy is no better than conventional therapy in treating teenagers with moderate to severe antisocial behaviour.

Babies' babbling betters brains, language

January 18, 2018
Babies are adept at getting what they need - including an education. New research shows that babies organize mothers' verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction, and infant babbling is the key.

College branding makes beer more salient to underage students

January 18, 2018
In recent years, major beer companies have tried to capitalize on the salience of students' university affiliations, unveiling marketing campaigns and products—such as "fan cans," store displays, and billboard ads—that ...

Inherited IQ can increase in early childhood

January 18, 2018
When it comes to intelligence, environment and education matter – more than we think.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.