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PROCESSES OF ASIAN AMERICAN IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT: A STUDY OF JAPANESE AMERICAN WOMEN'S PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR STRUGGLE TO ACHIEVE POSITIVE IDENTITIES AS AMERICANS OF ASIAN ANCESTRY
Purpose. The purpose of this study was to examine the process by which Asian Americans resolve their identity conflict around being Americans of Asian ancestry, living in a predominantly White society. The general goal was to find out how these identity conflicts around one's racial membership are resolved, and what the relationship is between identity conflict resolution and the development of Asian American identity. Since there were no known studies on the process of Asian American identity development (AAID), this study was considered to be an exploratory research in this area. Therefore, instead of specific hypothesis testing, the present study sought answers to a set of general research questions: What is the process by which Asian American identity conflicts are resolved and what are its salient aspects? What does the identity conflict resolution lead to? What factors assist the individuals to resolve their identity conflict? What is the nature of critical incidences that precipitate change in perceptions of being Asian American? What is the relationship between the process of Asian American identity development and Erikson's theory of ego identity development? What meanings do subjects attribute to their Asian American identity? Methodology. As an exploratory study with the desired goal of generating a theory on the process of Asian American identity development, a qualitative research method was used. The study utilized, as its methodological framework, the work of Glaser and Strauss (1968) on The Discovery of Grounded Theory. Specifically, the study utilized an unstructured, focused, individual interview method to gather the data. Ten Sansei (third-generation Japanese American) women made up the sample. This sample was further delineated into two groups: those who spent their formative years in predominantly White (PW) ethnic neighborhoods and those who spent the same period in predominantly non-white (PNW) ethnic neighborhoods. The criterion used for making this separation was based on self-report. The purpose of creating this grouping was to further examine the influence of subjects' social environment on the process of AAID. Comparative analysis was made on the collected data. The results of this analysis was also compared with stages 4 and 5 of Erikson's life cycle of identity (1963, 1968) and Black identity development theories of Hall and Cross (1970) and Jackson (1976). Results and Conclusion. Analysis of the data indicated that the process of Asian American identity development involves five conceptually distinct stages that are sequential and progressive. These stages are: Ethnic awareness, White identification, Awakening to social political consciousness, Redirection to Asian American consciousness, and Incorporation. In all cases, the resolution of identity conflict around one's racial membership led to the development of a positive racial identity as Asian Americans. In general, subjects' interaction with their social environment played a major role in affecting the quality of the process of AAID while the categories of experiences remained the same. This effect was most evident in the between-group differences of the PNW and PW neighborhood samples. Several factors that facilitated subjects' movement from one stage to another were identified. These are: information (both ethnic and political), support system (individuals and groups), and interaction with social environment (general social political consciousness, social political movements involving other minorities, Asian American movement). Lastly, it is clear that much more research is needed in this general area of AAID. True to its exploratory nature, the results of the present study raised many more questions than it answered.
KIM, JEAN, "PROCESSES OF ASIAN AMERICAN IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT: A STUDY OF JAPANESE AMERICAN WOMEN'S PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR STRUGGLE TO ACHIEVE POSITIVE IDENTITIES AS AMERICANS OF ASIAN ANCESTRY" (1981). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8118010.