Identity development

Seth J Schwartz, Miguel Ángel Cano, Byron L. Zamboanga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Nineteen-year-old Yuliana, a second-generation Dominican American who had grown up in New York City, recently moved to a small Ohio college town to pursue her studies. In NYC, she rarely thought about her ethnicity. The Washington Heights neighborhood where she had lived is a densely populated, largely Dominican neighborhood. During early and middle childhood, when she attended a neighborhood school, most of her friends were other Dominican Americans from the area. When asked as a child where she was from, she had always responded, “Dominican." Although she was born in the United States and barely speaks Spanish, the Dominican Republic is where all her family and friends are from. When she later attended a commuter high school in Lower Manhattan with students from all over the Caribbean and the rest of the world, she made a more diverse group of friends. During midadolescence, if pressed, she would usually respond that she was a New Yorker and sometimes that she was Dominican, depending on who was asking. Then she left for college and became one of only a few students of color on campus. There she found people asking every day, “Where are you really from?" “New York” did not seem to satisfy them. She joined the La Raza Student Association, in which most members are from the Southwest and of Mexican origin. But even here she does not seem to belong. Is she Black? Is she Latina? Is she American? Dominican? A New Yorker? For the first time, Yuliana finds herself daily questioning her identity and place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransitions
Subtitle of host publicationThe Development of Children of Immigrants
PublisherNew York University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780814770948
ISBN (Print)9780814789445
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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