The structure of cultural identity in an ethnically diverse sample of emerging adults

Seth J. Schwartz, Byron L. Zamboanga, Liliana Rodriguez, Sherry C. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The present study was designed to examine the structure of cultural identity in the United States, both across variables and across persons. An ethnically diverse sample of 349 emerging-adult university students completed measures of orientation toward American and heritage cultural practices, acculturation strategies, individualism-collectivism, independence- interdependence, ethnic identity, and familism. Across variables, results of factor-analytic procedures yielded three dimensions of cultural identity: American-culture identity, heritage-culture identity, and biculturalism. This factor structure was consistent across the three largest ethnic groups in the sample (Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics). Ethnic differences emerged in the associations of these cultural identity factors to familial ethnic socialization, acculturative stress, and perceived ethnic discrimination. Across persons, cluster-analytic procedures revealed two groups of participants-those who endorsed American-culture identity highly and those who endorsed both American and heritage cultures highly. Implications for theory and for further research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-173
Number of pages15
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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