AuthorChapman, Ovett George, Jr.
Committee ChairPerfect, Michelle
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe vast majority of studies on ethnic identity development in adolescence have primarily focused on those youths who reside with their biological parents. The disproportionate representation of minority youth in the child welfare system is a salient issue related to identity development, when considering that typical parental figures may be vastly different for these children. This study sought to provide information on the relations between length of time in foster care and an adolescent's ethnic identity. It also examined whether ethnic identity varied as a function of youth being placed in homes where at least one caregiver was of a different race than them. This current study includes data collected for Mental Health Service Use Of Youth Leaving Foster Care (2001-2003) from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. Four hundred and six adolescents (228 females and 178 males; mean age = 16.33; 43% White, 50% African American, 3% Bi-racial, and less than 1% American Indian, Latino, or other) in the Missouri foster care system were interviewed. Data did not reveal a significant relation between when children were first placed into foster care and their total ethnic identity scores. Although there was not a significant effect for youth placed in matched and unmatched homes, data revealed that youth who identified as White and had been placed in at least one unmatched home had a lower sense of ethnic identity than youth who identified as White placed in same-race homes. Further, in supplemental analyses youth placed in unmatched homes were more likely to have more depressive symptoms than those placed in homes of foster care parents with the same race. Ethnic identity was also positively related to self-esteem. Self-esteem was found to be positively related to higher grades and lower levels of depression. Critically, as already mentioned, the study found unexpectedly low levels of ethnic identity sense experienced by all youth in the study, relative to previous levels of ethnic identity in other adolescent samples. This study provides information on the importance of ethnic identity development and taking a strengths-based approach among youth placed in foster
Degree ProgramGraduate College