UMass Amherst

Start Date

11-4-2013 1:00 PM

End Date

11-4-2013 2:00 PM


While some transracial adoptees (TRAs) are able to appreciate and value their birth and adoptive sides, others feel like they are perennial outsiders (Ramsey & Mika, 2011) and caught “in-between” both groups (Meier, 1999). To understand why TRAs vary so widely in these perceptions and identifications, this study explored how internal attributes are related to Korean transracial adoptees’ (KTAs’) sense of belonging. 144 KTAs (114 female) between the ages of 19 to 57 years (M = 31.5, SD = 7.3) took an online survey that assessed: internal attributes (personality traits, dispositional optimism, and self-reflection) and sense of belonging (to Koreans, Whites, and people in general). The majority of internal attributes were linked with a general sense of belonging, but not with belonging to Koreans and Whites specifically. Rather, sense of belonging to the explicit referent groups involved a more complicated interplay of internal attributes. Optimism, in particular, moderated the relationship between openness and belonging to Koreans, and it also moderated the relationship between self-reflection and belonging to Whites. This nuanced examination of internal attributes and feelings of belonging may lead to a better understanding of the dynamics of group affiliations and disaffections and tease out potential remedies for KTAs’ feelings of alienation and “in-between-ness.”

Included in

Psychology Commons


Apr 11th, 1:00 PM Apr 11th, 2:00 PM

Internal Attributes and Sense of Belonging: The Moderating Role of Optimism in Korean Transracial Adoptees

UMass Amherst