Personal and cultural identity development in recently immigrated hispanic adolescents: Links with psychosocial functioning

Alan Meca, Raha F. Sabet, Colleen M. Farrelly, Cynthia G. Benitez, Seth J. Schwartz, Melinda Gonzales-Backen, Elma I. Lorenzo-Blanco, Jennifer B. Unger, Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, Simona Picariello, Daniel W. Soto, Monica Pattarroyo, Sabrina E. Des Rosiers, Juan A. Villamar, Karina M. Lizzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study examined directionality between personal (i.e., coherence and confusion) and cultural identity (i.e., ethnic and U.S.) as well as their additive effects on psychosocial functioning in a sample of recently immigrated Hispanic adolescents. Method: The sample consisted of 302 recent (< 5 years) immigrant Hispanic adolescents (53% boys; Mage = 14.51 years at baseline; SD = .88 years) from Miami and Los Angeles who participated in a longitudinal study. Results: Results indicated a bidirectional relationship between personal identity coherence and both ethnic and U.S. identity. Ethnic and U.S. affirmation/commitment (A/C) positively and indirectly predicted optimism and negatively predicted rule breaking and aggression through coherence. However, confusion predicted lower self-esteem and optimism and higher depressive symptoms, rule breaking, unprotected sex, and cigarette use. Results further indicated significant site differences. In Los Angeles (but not Miami), ethnic A/C also negatively predicted confusion. Conclusion: Given the direct effects of coherence and confusion on nearly every outcome, it may be beneficial for interventions to target personal identity. However, in contexts such as Los Angeles, which has at least some ambivalence toward recently immigrated Hispanic adolescents, it may be more beneficial for interventions to also target cultural identity to reduce confusion and thus promote positive development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-361
Number of pages14
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Ethnic identity
  • Hispanic immigrants
  • Personal identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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