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Ethnic Identity in African American and European American Preadolescents: Relation to Self-Worth, Social Goals, and Aggression

NCJ Number
Journal of Early Adolescence Volume: 29 Issue: 4 Dated: August 2009 Pages: 476-496
Date Published
August 2009
21 pages

This study tested models to determine if self-worth and social goals mediated the influence of ethnic identity on aggression among European and African-American preadolescents.


Results indicate that under certain conditions, preadolescent ethnic identity, self-worth, and social goals were found to relate to aggression; key patterns were found. Findings suggest that ethnic identity may be a significant construct for both European and African-American preadolescents, but operate differently for these two different populations. African-American preadolescents had higher aggression scores than European American preadolescents, as reported by their teachers. Forty-two percent of African-American youth compared to 16 percent of European American children, live below the Federal poverty line. Daily environmental obstacles serve as risk factors to delinquent behaviors observed among some minority children. Experiences of racial discrimination are also associated with violent behaviors among African-American youth. African-American youth who live in neighborhoods with high rates of gang activity and delinquency are more likely to display aggressive behaviors. Findings may have important implications for prevention or intervention programs for aggressive African-American and European-American preadolescents. Data were collected from 157 students between the ages of 9 and 13 across 26 schools. Tables, figures, and references

Date Published: August 1, 2009