A multicultural critique of identity status theory and research: A call for integration

Joel R. Sneed, Seth J. Schwartz, William E. Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Although identity status theory has inspired over 500 theoretical and empirical publications, it is unclear to what extent this tradition has incorporated non-White ethnic groups and theories of racial and ethnic identity development. We reviewed 57 empirical articles published between 1993 and 2003 in 6 leading outlets for identity status research and found that (a) 35% failed to report the ethnic composition of the sample, and (b) 74% of the samples consisted primarily of White participants. Given the increasing diversity of the United States and other Western countries, non-White ethnic groups need to be incorporated in identity status research, and the ethnic composition of research samples need to be adequately described. We review 4 models of racial and ethnic identity development that parallel the more general identity development process. We conclude by providing both methodological and theoretical suggestions for how identity status and racial or ethnic identity models can be integrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-84
Number of pages24
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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