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The relationship between racial identity and ego identity in Whites and People of Color

Katherine Carol Mague, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study cross-sectionally investigated the relationship between ego identity formation and racial identity development in college students self-identified as White or People of Color. Two-hundred and ten participants (113 White, 97 People of Color) completed standardized measures of ego identity formation (EOMEIS—Bennion & Adams, 1986), racial identity development (WRIAS & POC-RIAS—Helms, 1990) and self esteem (RSE—Rosenberg, 1965). Regression analyses investigated whether a person's level of racial identity, (most mature, least mature, and exploratory vs committed) predicted her level of ego identity (most mature, least mature and exploratory vs committed). Overall, results supported this relationship, although racial identity statuses seemed more relevant to ego identity for People of Color than for Whites. For Whites, more mature racial identity indirectly predicted mature ego identity, while exploratory racial identity positively predicted committed ego identity. Finally, the least mature racial identity predicted a number of different ego identity statuses for Whites. However, psychometric analysis of the WRIAS indicated that the instrument more accurately reflected a two factor model than the five factor status model originally examined. Post-hoc analyses with a two factor model of racial comfort and discomfort significantly predicted some aspects of ego identity in Whites. For People of Color, mature racial identity directly predicted mature ego identity, less mature racial identity predicted committed ego identity and racial confusion and exploration predicted ego identity exploration.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Developmental psychology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Mague, Katherine Carol, "The relationship between racial identity and ego identity in Whites and People of Color" (1999). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9932327.