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Masters Thesis

22nd of April 2010


Relationship between Ethnic Identity and Self Esteem among Minority


A case study with Turkish Cypriots

Nweke Elochukwu Gabriel

S/N 070402115

identity and Self esteem


Abstract ............................................................................................................... 4

Acknowledgement .5

Chapter One: Introduction..6

Background 6
Statement of Problem ..... 15
Research Questions .. 15

Hypotheses of the Study.. 15

Chapter Two: Relevant literature and theoretical review ...... 17

Introduction .... 17

Self esteem and academic achievement . 19

Self esteem and alcohol/drug abuse.... 20

Self esteem and socio economic status 21

Self esteem and inter personal relationships 24

Ethnic identity theoretical models 25

Chapter three: methodological details . 42

Sample population.42

Research instruments 42

Data collection and analysis 44

Chapter four: results .....46


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Chapter five: discussions ..55

Applications of this study.................................................................................................58

Future researches .59

Limitations of this study .61

References ..62

Appendix A 71

Appendix B.72


identity and Self esteem


This study examined the relationship between ethnic identity and personal self esteem among

ethnic minority groups with Turkish Cypriot undergraduate students as the case study.

Rosenbergs (1979) self esteem scale and Phinneys (1991) ethnic identity scale was used to

measure self esteem and ethnic identity respectively. A total of sixty two students filled out the

two questionnaires. The students were divided into two groups. Group one comprised of those

that have dual nationality while group two comprised of those that have single nationality. The

results revealed that positive relationships exist between ethnic identity and self esteem among

those that have dual nationality while a negative but not significant relationship was noted

between ethnic identity and self esteem among those that have single nationality. Both results

support the hypothesis. Dual nationality group indicated higher self esteem and higher ethnic

identity than the single nationality group. Females also showed higher ethnic identity than males

but males self esteem scores was slightly higher than the females. These findings imply that level

of self esteem could predict ethnic identity and vice versa.


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I would like to give my deepest thanks and gratitude to prof. Tulin Bodamyali for her

supervision, feedback and support. Its been a pleasure working with you and thanks for allowing

me creative freedom in the conceptualization and preparation of this thesis. My appreciation

goes to prof., Andre P. Walton who initially started this work, I say thank you sir. My gratitude

also goes to all the entire staff in the department of psychology who contributed to the successful

completion of my masters degree program. Special thanks go to all the students in the

department and also my participants in this study. Finally, I want to thank Mr. Tuner Esoy for

interpreting Turkish articles for me. I thank you all and God bless.


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In a challenge to the ongoing Cypriot experiment of reconciling unity and peace making,

the need to know the extent to which the citizens identify with their ethnic group and national

identity becomes imperative. Cyprus is an island which has multi ethnic communities including

Turks, Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Armenians, and Kurds amongst others. The capricious

historic and recent past of Cyprus is fought with ethnic strife, colonial and post-colonial

struggles, and continuing political conflict. All of these elements contribute to the greater

Cyprus conflict and identity crisis. The primary task of this introduction is to outline these

factors and their relationship with ethnic identity and self esteem on the island. I will begin with

a brief historic overview of the Cyprus conflict and the resulting division of Greek and

Turkish Cypriot ethnicities. Specifically, I will focus on north Cyprus and the assimilation of

Turkish Cypriots into the greater Turkish culture and ethnicity. The essence of the Cyprus

conflict is a result of Greek and Turkish sociopolitical disagreements and military clashes, which

rose during the latter half of the British colonial period from 1878 through 1960. After colonial

rule ended, ethnic strife between the islands primary ethnic groups increased with Greek


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Cypriots striving for reunification with Greece or enosis, and Turkish Cypriots wanting equal

representation in the government and the partition of the island (Papadakis, et al. 2006:2).

Terrorist attacks and inter-ethnic violence increased until the late 1960s when both sides began

political negotiations with the United Nations. During the same period, a military government

came to power in Greece. The Greek Cypriot political majority, led by Archbishop Makarios,

was slowly moving away from enosis and maintaining the status quo of Greek Cypriot political

majority on the island. Consequently, in July of 1974, radical pro-Greek factions, supported by

the military government in Greece, attempted a coup against Archbishop Makarios. As a result,

on July 20, 1974, after consultation with Britain, Turkey intervened with a military invasion of

Cyprus; namely peace-keeping action to protect the Turkish Cypriot community. This was in

exercise of the powers of guarantee agreed in the Treaty of Zurich. Since this time the island has

remained divided. On the 15th November 1983 The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

(TRNC) was founded. It is a fully democratic state and with exception of a few border incidents,

internal peace has been established.

Anthony Smith (1998) states that the main components of an ethnic community are a

collective name, myth of ancestry, historical memories, shared cultural elements, association

with a homeland, and a common language. Although this general definition of ethnicity is

informative, it indirectly implies an isolation and static understanding of ethnic groups. In the

case of Cyprus, Greek and Turkish ethnicities are often reduced to ones association to a national

homeland (Greece or Turkey), Greek or Turkish language, and shared cultural elements such as

religion (Greek Orthodox or Islam), and food; without discussing the underlying minutia and


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interactions among Greek and Turkish ethnic identities. As a result, the marked

oversimplification of ethnicity and its role in the Cyprus conflict is suspect and has resulted in

misdirected understandings of ethnicity on Cyprus. From psychological standpoint, I am

interested in not only what it means to identify with an ethnicity, but also understanding its

contextual and dynamic relationship with personal self esteem and other socio-cultural and

political arrangements. Since 1974, Turkeys political policy of increasing the Turkish

population vis--vis individuals categorized as Greeks is being played out in the social structure

of North Cyprus. As a result of Turkeys population politics, ethnic Turkish Cypriots are being

politically assimilated into what is considered the pure Turkish culture of Anatolia. The

Turkish political rhetoric--with support from the TRNC government then-argues that Turkish

Cypriots and people from the mainland of Turkey are collectively members of the Turk ethnic

group (Navaro- Yashin 2006). By this classification, all people of Turk ethnicity (regardless of

ones geographic location) are of Ottoman descent, share the common homeland of Turkey,

communicate using the standard Turkish language, have common histories, and share cultural

elements such as food and religion--as in Smiths definition of ethnicity. The institutional policy

trends such as national holidays celebrating the 1974 Turkish intervention in the Cyprus

conflict, the teaching of the standardized Turkish language, immigration incentives for Turkish

settlers, nationalistic mountain graffiti, Turkish Army troops stationed in North Cyprus, and

partial TRNC governmental obedience of Turkeys politics, collectively establish the importance

of mainland Turkish culture while simultaneously de-emphasizing local Turkish Cypriot culture

and ethnicity. This is akin to Michael Herzfelds application of political domesticity. For its

part, a government may try to co-opt the language of intimacy for its utilitarian ends of


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commanding loyalty under what seems to be the most unpropitious conditions. Indeed, in the

face of globalizing processes, defensive domesticity can acquire a persuasive appeal.

Domesticity is a common image in this strategy (Herzfeld, 2005:4). His use of domesticity

almost perfectly describes the movement to incorporate everything Turkish Cypriot into the

greater Turkish culture. Consequently, all of these elements support and justify Turkeys 1974

military intervention, a continued military presence on the island, and Turkeys socio-political

claim to Cyprus. These institutional policies leave many Turkish Cypriots feeling culturally

detached from the Cypriot aspects of their ethnic identities. This raises questions about the

Turkish Cypriot perspective and how their sense of ethnic identity has been influenced by the

Turkification policies in North Cyprus. Turkeys current political policies present a bland and

sterile consensus of Turk ethnicity in North Cyprus. However, political institutions are not the

primary or solitary informer socio-cultural ethnic identity. Given the institutionalized polices of

assimilating Turkish Cypriots into Turkish culture and Turk ethnicity, in what ways do Turkish

Cypriot communities maintain their strength and understandings of Turkish Cypriot ethnicity in

contemporary North Cyprus? I will argue that although indigenous Turkish Cypriots and people

from mainland Turkey share, to some extent, common histories, cultures, language, and myths,

the small cultural differences between the groups are becoming major symbolic distinctions for

Turkish Cypriot ethnic identification, in-group/out-group border maintenance, and potential

resistance to the Turkification of North Cyprus. The theoretical basis of my argument is found in

Herzfelds notion of cultural intimacy (Herzfeld 2005) and Scotts theory of domination and

resistance (see Scott 1999). Herzfeld states, The approach described here might be presented as

exploring the relationship between the view from the bottom and the view from the top. I prefer,


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however, to treat top and bottom as but two of a host of refractions of a broadly shared

cultural engagement (a more processual term than the static culture). Simplistic talks of elites

and ordinary people conceal that common ground (as well as the fact that these terms are often

themselves instruments in the negotiation of power) and so inhibits analysis. The common

ground that ultimately dissolves the possibility of clearly defined terms is cultural intimacy--the

recognition of those aspects of a cultural identity that are considered a source of external

embarrassment but that nevertheless provide insiders with their assurance of common sociality,

the familiarity with the bases of power that may at one moment assure the disenfranchised a

degree of creative irreverence and at the next moment reinforce the effectiveness of

intimidation (Herzfeld, 2005:3). As Herzfeld states, it is not beneficial to separate the Turkish

political and social influence from the Turkish Cypriot population. The separation of groups

conceals their real life connectedness. The daily interaction and processual engagement between

and among Turkish Cypriots, Turks, and Turkeys policies encases the cultural rich points. For

Turkish Cypriots, the forced emersion into the greater Turkish culture has brought out the

intimate cultural differences between themselves and Turks as important ethnic identity markers.

These cultural nuances may be a form of external embarrassment for Turkish Cypriots (e.g.

ridicule for speaking the Turkish Cypriot dialect of Turkish), but as insiders, these cultural forms

are a source of common sociality and at the same moment can assure a degree of resistance

against the dominating Turkish influence. The primary purpose of Scotts theory is to suggest

how we might more successfully read, interpret, and understand the often fugitive political

conduct of subordinate groups. Every subordinate group creates, out of its ordeal, a hidden

transcript that represents a critique of power spoken behind the back of the dominant (Scott,


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1999). In the case of North Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots are using various forms of cultural

intimacy as hidden transcripts to critique and possibly resist the strong Turkish political and

cultural influences. Consequently, the already existing intimate cultural differences between

Turkish Cypriots and everything Turkish are becoming marked as potential forms of resistance.

In the context of Turkish Cypriot resistance, I think the notion of hidden transcript is somewhat

inaccurate. For Scott, hidden transcripts are meant to be kept offstage, out of public sight, and

unviewed (see Scott 1999). Thus, Scott argues the varying forms of resistance are kept out of the

public domain and are meant to be hidden from the dominant. However, various forms of

Turkish Cypriot resistance are actually in the public domain, but go largely unnoticed by the

dominant Turkish presence. Consequently, I think Turkish Cypriot practices of resistance are

actually opaque rather than hidden. Thus, various forms of Turkish Cypriot resistance require

referential knowledge of the actors to understand the underlying message of resistance, hence the

event being opaque rather than hidden. In my project, cultural activities provide a number of

different contexts for engagement with Turkish Cypriot ethnic identity, which fosters

understandings of Turkish Cypriot identity and, in some cases, resistance to the dominating

Turkish influence in North Cyprus. These contexts do not attempt to impose a unified

understanding of what Turkish Cypriot ethnicity is, what Turkish Cypriot ethnic identity

practices are, or what Turkish Cypriot collective defiance (Scott 1999) should be; rather, they

represent a symbolic distinction from the other by focusing on the more intimate Cypriot cultural

differences as important expressions of Turkish Cypriot identity. To an outsider there may be no

visible difference between the Turkish political influences in North Cyprus or cultural

differences between Turkish settlers and native Turkish Cypriots. However, for Turkish


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Cypriots, the participation in various cultural activities not only serves as a symbolic boundary of

resistance from the policies of Turkification, but is also symbolically informative as to what it

means to be of Turkish Cypriot ethnicity. For Turkish Cypriots, the response to Turkification is

both an individual and collective endeavor. I will argue that through the participation in various

intimate Cypriot cultural practices, Turkish Cypriots gain both an individual and collective

understanding of ethnic identity, while simultaneously creating symbolic boundaries of

resistance that specifically communicate the difference in social organization from mainland

Turk ethnicity and Turkeys nationalistic politics. Regarding their orientation towards Europe

and their connections to the outside world the Turkish Cypriot diasporas has always been a

strong reference point for the inhabitants of Northern Cyprus. In the 1950s and 1960s many

Turkish Cypriots migrated from Cyprus as a consequence of the violent conflict between both

communities. After the partition of the island in 1974 it was mainly the fragile political and

economic situation in the internationally isolated TRNC which made large groups of the

population leave the island. The majority of Turkish Cypriot migrants settled in Britain or

Turkey, others went to Australia or in comparatively small numbers to countries like

Germany. In addition, many inhabitants of Northern Cyprus studied or worked some years

abroad. Turkish Cypriot immigrants in Britain now form the largest community in the Diasporas.

In one of the very few surveys about this group Kevin Robins and Asu Aksoy (2001), who

carried out detailed research on the cultural experience of Turkish Cypriots in Britain, give their

number as an estimated 100,000, most of them living in London. Robins and Aksoy (2001:686)

state that they chose Britain because, as former colonial subjects, they had, or felt they had, a

special historical relationship with the colonial heartland. According to the authors most


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Turkish Cypriot migrants seem to have opted for a pragmatic accommodation to the demands of

their new British circumstances (2001:691). This adaptation made them become a relatively

invisible population (2001:686), for which Robins and Aksoy see apart from being

overshadowed by other migrant communities, especially by Turkish and Kurdish migrants from

mainland Turkey a sense of affinity to the British culture as a main reason: Turkish Cypriots

have tended to emphasize what they regard as their own qualities of being both more

progressive (that is, more European) and also more integrated into the British way of life.

(2001:690) Similar to processes of reformulating identity among second-generation migrants in

other communities and influenced through the increasingly politicized debate in Northern

Cyprus, the issue of identity developed into a more relevant topic among the Turkish Cypriots in

Britain in the 1990s. Robins and Aksoy identify as another significant factor the

transnationalisation of Turkish popular culture, particularly in the form of Turkish satellite

television. Turkish Cypriots in Britain thus have to position themselves between cultural

concepts of Britishness, Turkishness, and Cypriotness. On the basis of several interviews

with Turkish Cypriot women in London, the authors refer to their diverse strategies in

experiencing culture. With the arrival of Turkish television, many immigrants of the first

generation seem to have retreated to the Turkish cultural sphere. The authors quote, for instance,

a 69-year-old woman who has lived in Britain for 40 years: I never liked the English language ,

I have been here for many years, but thats how it is [] Then Turkish radio came, and we used

to listen to it day and night, and now there is [Turkish] television (Robins and Aksoy 2001:695).

The younger women of the second generation who they interviewed grew up in Britain and

expressed various approaches towards culture. Some had elaborated a kind of synthesis out of


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different Turkish Cypriot, British and Turkish cultural elements which Robins and Aksoy call an

everyday hybrid culture (2001:704). Nevertheless these women emphasized their different

position with regard to Britishness:[W]e definitely are not English [] I was born here, I lived

here, if someone asks me, I wouldnt say Im British. [] We dont frown upon the British, []

but we still are Turkish. Its a family thing. Your parents are Turkish, so you are. (Cited in

Robins and Aksoy 2001:699) For other women interviewed by the authors their in-between

position seemed to be more an experience of moving about cultural spaces (2001:704). A 19-

year-old Turkish Cypriot woman puts it as follows: Ive kind of accepted this dual nationality

that Ive got, and Im glad. Because on one side Ive got Turkish culture, and its got really

beautiful things about it, the way people are warm to one another, the family gatherings. On the

other side Ive got this British culture, which Im also proud of, because it taught me to think, to

be my own person, and not to follow society, and not to just do what everyone else says. (Cited

in Robins and Aksoy 2001:701) In Northern Cyprus, however, the forms of cultural hybridity

expressed by second generation migrants are often regarded as a kind of estrangement from the

original Turkish Cypriot culture. The Turkish Cypriot sociologist Hasan Alicik (1997) takes

this perspective in his empirical survey about identity, alienation and assimilation of young

immigrants who were born or grew up in Britain. Though asked about their self-perception the

majority of young Turkish Cypriots characterized themselves as Turkish or Turkish Cypriot.

Alicik (1997:158) complain about their alienation from the original culture due to the long

migration experience and call for steps to prevent their assimilation. Second generation

immigrants visiting or returning to Northern Cyprus often experience the attitude of the local

population towards them as a discriminating attribution of an in-between status. A 29-year-old


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Turkish Cypriot born in Australia, for instance, reports about his experiences in the Diaspora and

in Cyprus after his return in Australia I wasnt a local, only an immigrant. In Cyprus they put me

in the category of those coming from Australia or from London. Though I was born and grew up

in Australia, I was treated there as an immigrant, and though my family raised me like a Cypriot,

in Cyprus I was treated as an Australian. People from the same ethnic group vary greatly in their

level of ethnic identification. Some people identify very strongly with their ethnic group while

some identify low. This variation in the level of ethnic identification could be a result of several

factors such as gender, socialization process, personality traits, self esteem or self concept, socio

economic status, etc. This study focused on the relationship between ethnic identity and self

esteem among Turkish Cypriot with single and dual nationality.

Statement of the Problem

Little research exists on the relationship between ethnic identity and self esteem with regards to

Cyprus. The absence of such research has made it difficult for educators, researchers and other

professionals to maximize integration of ethnic identity theories and literatures with personal self

esteem. The objective of this study was to asses the relationship between ethnic identity and self

esteem among Turkish Cypriots. It also explored whether or not ethnic identity and self esteem is

influenced by gender differences.

Research Questions.


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This study focused on several research questions;

1) What is the current understanding of ethnicity among Turkish Cypriots students?

2) Is there a relationship between ethnic identity and self esteem among Turkish Cypriots?

3) What are the identifying characteristics in the personal backgrounds of participants

whose perception and /or development of ethnic identity has been influenced by exposure

to other nationality.

Hypotheses of the study;

Hypothesis 1a states that there will be a significant positive relationship between ethnic

identity and self esteem among Turkish Cypriots that have dual nationality.

Hypothesis 1b states that there will be a significant negative relationship between ethnic

identity and self esteem among Turkish Cypriots that have single nationality.

Hypothesis 2a states that there will be a significant difference in ethnic identity scores

between the two groups. It was hypothesized that the dual nationality group will have the

highest ethnic identity score and single nationality group will have lower ethnic identity


Hypothesis 2b states that there will be a significant difference in self esteem scores between

the two groups. It was hypothesized that the dual nationality group will have the highest self

esteem score and single nationality group will have lower self esteem score.


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Hypothesis 3a proposes that there will be a significant difference between gender and self

esteem with males having higher scores than females.

Hypothesis 3b proposes that there will be a significant difference between gender and ethnic

identity with females having higher scores than males.


Relevant Literature and theoretical background

Self esteem is an expression of approval of self. It indicates the extent to which one views

him/herself in positive terms (capable, worthy, significant) or negative terms (incapable,

unworthy,) (Cooper Smith, 1987). Self-esteem is a widely used concept both in popular language


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and in psychology. It refers to an individual's sense of his or her value or worth, or the extent to

which a person values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself (Blascovich &

Tomaka, 1991). The most broad and frequently cited definition of self-esteem within psychology

is Rosenberg's (1965), who described it as a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward the self

(p.15). Self-esteem is generally considered the evaluative component of the self-concept, a

broader representation of the self that includes cognitive and behavioral aspects as well as

evaluative or affective ones (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991). While the construct is most often

used to refer to a global sense of self-worth, narrower concepts such as self-confidence or body-

esteem are used to imply a sense of self-esteem in more specific domains. It is also widely

assumed that self-esteem functions as a trait, that is, it is stable across time within individuals.

Self-esteem is an extremely popular construct within psychology, and has been related to

virtually every other psychological concept or domain, including personality (e.g., shyness),

behavioral (e.g., task performance), cognitive (e.g., attributional bias), and clinical concepts (e.g.,

anxiety and depression). While some researchers have been particularly concerned with

understanding the nuances of the self-esteem construct, others have focussed on the adaptive and

self-protective functions of self-esteem (reviewed in Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991, conceptual

and methodological issues).

Rosenberg, Schooler, and Schoenbach (1989) noted that self-esteem can be seen as either

the cause or the outcome of developmental variables. Factors that enhance self-esteem, such as

family support and personal accomplishments, are likely to contribute as well to a secure sense

of self as a member of an ethnic or racial group. Rosenberg et al. (1989) suggested several ways


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that ones self-esteem affects ones behavior. They defined self-esteem as the most important

dimension of self concept that often reflects others judgment. Rosenberg suggested that self-

concept and feelings of self-esteem start in infancy with the behavior of the parents or caregiver

toward the baby. Parents and caregivers actions shape the environment that contributes to the

way the baby feels about himself or herself. Global feelings of self-esteem are widely recognized

as a central aspect of psychological functioning and well being. Verkuyten (1995) emphasized

this connection: The way in which one is identified in larger society affects the way in which

one identifies oneself (p. 165). In a minority population, the impact of ethnic identity was

conceptualized as crucial to feelings of self-esteem. However, he found minority status was not

linked to low self-esteem. In his comparison study between 500 majority and minority youth

living in the Netherlands, Verkuyten found no relationship between levels of self-esteem and

minority status. He found personal self-esteem was significantly correlated with group

identification and with in-group evaluation among all ethnic groups. However, in terms of ethnic

group identification and in-group evaluation, there was a strong difference between the ethnic

groups. Dutch respondents scored significantly lower on group identification than did the ethnic

minority groups. There were no significant differences between the ethnic groups scores for

global self-esteem as well as self-concept stability. Verkuyten found a clear difference between

boys and girls. Boys had a significantly higher score for self-esteem and a more stable self-

concept than girls. Minority youth identified more strongly with their ethnic group and evaluated

their group more positively than majority students. This strong identification was linked in all

groups to global self-esteem. Therefore, minority status is not crucial to feelings of self worth.

Rather, it is ones sense of pride or identification with ones origins, whatever they are, that is


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crucial to high self-esteem .Self-esteem has been related both to socioeconomic status , academc

achevement,substance abuse, nterpersonal relationshps and to various aspects of health and

health-related behavior, as has a related construct, self-efficacy. Self-efficacy, a term associated

with the work of Bandura, refers to an individual's sense of competence or ability in general or in

particular domains. For the purpose of ths study, all these construct lke soco economic status,

academic achevement and nterperonal relationships affect how individual will identify with

his/her ethnic it is important to explain how they relate with self esteem.

There is general agreement that there is a close relationship between self-esteem and academic

achievement. However, there is considerable disagreement as to the specific nature of this

relationship. It has been argued that students have to do well in school in order to have positive

self-esteem or self-concept; another position is that a positive self-esteem is a necessary

prerequisite for doing well in school. Covington (1989) reported that as the level of self-esteem

increases, so do achievement scores; as self-esteem decreases, achievement scores decline.

Furthermore, he concluded that self-esteem can be modified through direct instruction and that

such instruction can lead to achievement gains. Specifically, students perceived efficacy to

achieve, combined with personal goal setting, has been found to have a major impact on

academic achievement. Holly (1987) compiled a summary of some 50 studies and indicated that

most supported the idea that self-esteem was more likely the result than the cause of academic

achievement. He did acknowledge that a certain level of self-esteem is required in order for a

student to achieve academic success and that self-esteem and achievement go hand in hand. They

feed each other. Conrath (1986) states that the best way for a child to sustain a sense of

confidence is to acquire and demonstrate competence. He found that self-confidence will emerge


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with success in skill development and learning. Thus, the key point is to help students set

meaningful and realistic goals. However, the debate about which comes first--a positive self-

concept or academic achievement-is more academic than practical. The most important thing is

to appreciate the interaction and the reciprocal dynamics between self-concept and achievement.

They are mutually reinforcing. While there may be little justification for embarking on a

program to raise the level of self-esteem with the intent of raising academic achievement, there

are many other justifications for raising self-esteem of students. It has been my experience that

self-esteem programs can be implemented in schools without sacrificing academic excellence

and no school has reported a decline in academic achievement while focusing on self-esteem.

SELF ESTEEM AND ALCOHOL/DRUG ABUSE; the use of alcohol and drugs among our

young people continues to be of serious concern. More than 50% of high school seniors in the

U.S. report using illicit drugs and 66% report that they are regular users of alcohol; 71% reported

getting drunk and 14% appear to be highly involved with drugs on a regular basis. While a high

percentage of youths become involved as a part of the peer social scene, many grow to depend

upon drugs or alcohol to fill a personal void. Studies have found that 18 year olds who used

drugs frequently were using them as early as age seven, already more psychologically troubled

than their peers. They were already anxious and unhappy, alienated from their family and peers,

and overly impulsive. Low self-esteem, lack of conformity, poor academic achievement and poor

parental-child relationships are also indicators of young children likely to end up using drugs.

Low self-esteem is the universal common denominator among literally all people suffering from

addictions to any and all mind altering substances such as alcohol--not genes. In the book

Alcoholism: A False Stigma: Low Self-Esteem the True Disease, (1996) Candito reports, "Those


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who have identified themselves as "recovered alcoholics" indicate that low self esteem is the

most significant problem in their lives. Low self-esteem is the true problem and the true disease.

Alcohol is but a symptom of an alcoholics disease." Candito (1996) comes to the conclusion

that low self-esteem is the underlying origin of all problematic behaviors, and the true disease

that plagues the world, resulting in alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and all other obsessive behavior

including criminal behavior. This conclusion is also shared by Andrew Keegan (1987) who

maintains that low self-esteem either causes or contributes to neurosis, anxiety, defensiveness,

and ultimately alcohol and drug abuse. The reason why some become alcoholic while others do

not is dependent upon their ability to contend with low self-esteem.

SELF ESTEEM AND SOCO ECONOMIC STATUS Perhaps the most famous investigation

into the relationship of self-esteem to SES is Rosenberg and Pearlin's (1978) assessment of social

class and self-esteem among children and adults. In an effort to clarify decades of inconclusive

work on what many thought would be an obvious connection between one's social status or

prestige and one's personal sense of worth, Rosenberg and Pearlin suggested that age was a

critical factor in teasing apart this relationship. Indeed, they found virtually no association

between social class of parents (measured by the Hollingshead Index of Social Position) and self-

esteem among younger children, a modest association among adolescents, and a moderate

association among adults based on their own social class. They rely on theories about social

comparison processes, reflected self-appraisals, self-perception theory, and psychological

centrality to explain the age graded relationship. Because the salience of class in the

interpersonal context differs for children and adults, and because the social class of children is


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ascribed while that of adults is generally considered achieved, Rosenberg and Pearlin argue, the

extent to which the sense of inequality inherent in the meaning of social class is mirrored within

individuals is not the same for children as it is for adults.

Coppersmiths (1967) original work was designed to assess the origins of self-esteem in

children. The results of this work in which children filled out the Self-Esteem Inventory and

provided ratings of their parents, staff members interviewed mothers, and mothers filled out

questionnaires, indicated that "external indicators of prestige [of the parents] such as wealth,

amount of education, and job title did not have as overwhelming and as significant an effect on

self-esteem as is often assumed" (Pervin, 1993, P. 189). Parental attitudes and behaviors

-acceptance of their children, clear and well-enforced demands, and respect for actions within

well-defined limits -- were the primary antecedents of children's sense of self-worth (Pervin,

1993). Since the work by Rosenberg and Pearlin (1978) and Coppersmith (1967), others have

explored the relationship of self-esteem to SES, especially among adolescents. With some

exceptions, Rosenberg and Pearlin's results have been replicated (though it appears that more

people have studied adolescents than adults). Filsinger and Anderson (1982) found no

relationship between own SES (Duncan SES Index) and self-esteem (Rosenberg Self-Esteem

Scale) among adolescents, but a significant relationship between the SES of the person's best

friend and self-esteem. They attribute this to a heightened sense of self-efficacy among those

who interact with friends who are of a higher social status than themselves, as it may be the

social status of significant others from which adolescents derive their own sense of social status

(p. 383). Demo and Savin-Williams (1983) replicated and extended Rosenberg and Pearlin's


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findings, and demonstrated that the relationship between SES (father's occupation) and self-

esteem (Cooper smith Self-Esteem Inventory, plus two others to assess reflected appraisals and

academic self-esteem) was greater among eighth-graders than among fifth-graders. Richman,

Clark, and Brown (1985) found a main effect for the relationship between self-esteem and SES

among adolescents, but demonstrate complicated interactions of gender, race, and social class:

white females (including high SES individuals) were significantly lower in general self-esteem

than white males and black males and females. There has been considerable research on the

relationship between race and self-esteem. As for social class, in which the expectation is that the

social order will be reflected in individual self-assessments, people of color are hypothesized to

have lower self-esteem than are white people. In research comparing whites and blacks, blacks

often have equal or higher self-esteem than whites, and a number of theories, including those

related to self-protection and misidentification, have been offered to explain these findings (see

Crocker, Voelkl, Testa, & Major, 1991; Steele, 1992).Using both traditional and non-traditional

measures of social class (including father's unemployment status, neighborhood unemployment,

family welfare status, and neighborhood evaluation), Wiltfang and Scarbecz (1990) found that

father's education had a small positive relationship with adolescents' self-esteem and non-

traditional measures had moderate to strong (neighborhood unemployment) associations with

self-esteem (items from both Rosenberg and Cooper smith), all in the expected direction; they

also found, however, that adolescent achievement variables (school grades, group leadership,

report of many close friends) contributed significantly more to their self-esteem than did parental

social class variables (P. 180). In a study of 711 sixteen-year-olds in England, Francis and Jones

(1995) found that the relationship of SES and self-esteem varied with the measure of self-esteem.


identity and Self esteem

There was a significant relationship between SES and the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (r

= -.122, p <.001) and a moderate relationship with the Rosenberg (r =.063, p <.05). Considerably

less attention appears to have been paid to the self-esteem-SES relationship among adults. In

their study of 228 employed men, Gecas and Seff (1990) were interested in the role of

psychological centrality and compensation in maintaining self-esteem. Simple bivariate

correlations between self-esteem (measured by a 14-item semantic differential scale) and SES

were as follows: with occupational prestige, r = .21; with education, r = .16; with income, r = .08

(significance level unavailable, N = 228). There were, however, mediating effects of the

centrality of particular contexts to the self. They found that when work was a central aspect of

men's self-concept, occupational variables (occupational prestige, control at work) were more

strongly related to self-esteem than when they were not; similarly, when home was important,

home variables (control and satisfaction at home) were strongly related to self-esteem


between the perception of social success and self-esteem. This success may include confidence

in appearance, academic ability, athletic ability, or social relationships. Self-esteem might be

viewed then, as a barometer of how well one is doing socially. People seek a certain amount of

social acceptance and belonging in order to view themselves as successful and have positive

feelings about themselves. Effective interpersonal relationships are greatly determined by the

degree of ones tolerance, open-mindedness and respect for those who are different. To relate

most effectively it requires that one not be threatened by the positions of others. A recent series

of research studies underscores the importance and role of self-esteem in that process. A series of


identity and Self esteem

studies conducted by three professors of psychology at three separate universities acknowledge

the infinite variety of cultural perspectives on how mankind views the world. Yet, they found a

universal tendency to feel threatened by discrepant viewpoints, combined with a reluctance to

change ones own viewpoint. This seems to be true whether it refers to religion, politics, music,

sports, or tastes in wine. Thus, for centuries mankind has tended to respond violently to

encounters with different others in defense of their cultural world views. Through studies

conducted by these researchers they found that a critical factor in the type of response one gives

is related to ones level of self-esteem. The higher the level of self-esteem, the fewer individuals

feel threatened by different world views. They found that raising the level of self-esteem

significantly reduced the level of anxiety and the human response, both emotionally and

physiologically. Finally, they concluded that a requirement for cultures that value tolerance,

open-mindedness, and respect for those who are different is the fostering of self-esteem.

Ethnic identity refers to the extent to which one identifies with a particular ethnic group.

Ethnic identity has been described as a template used to develop knowledge, beliefs and

expectation about a persons own ethnic group (Dana, 1993); as cognitive, information-

processing frame work within which a person perceives and defines objects, situations, events

and other people. Guanipa-Ho and Guanipa (1999) defined ethnic identification as a real

awareness of self within a specific group, which resulted from valuing or devaluing connection

to the group. The extent to which one identifies with a particular ethnic group(s).Ethnic identity

refers to ones sense of belonging to an ethnic group and the part of ones thinking, perceptions,

feelings, and behavior that is due to ethnic group membership. The ethnic group tends to be one


identity and Self esteem

in which the individual claims heritage (Phinney, 1996). Ethnic identity is separate from ones

personal identity as an individual, although the two may reciprocally influence each other. Four

major components of ethnic identity:

Ethnic awareness (understanding of ones own and other groups)

Ethnic self-identification (label used for ones own group)

Ethnic attitudes (feelings about own and other groups)

Ethnic behaviors (behavior patterns specific to an ethnic group)

Development of ethnic identity: Development of ethnic identity is important because it helps one

to come to terms with their ethnic membership as a prominent reference group and significant

part of an individuals overall identity. Ethnic reference group refers to an individuals

psychological relatedness to groups (Smith 1991). These reference groups help adolescents

sense, reflect and see things from the point of their ethnic groups in which they actively

participate or seek to participate. As a person matures, his or her perception of ethnicity

undergoes a profound transformation. This transformation is concomitant with cognitive

development . For example, as Frances Aboud and Anna-Beth Doyle explain (Aboud and Doyle,

1983), in the stage of cognitive development which Jean Piaget named pre-operational (between

the ages of 2 and 7), children show a strong tendency to identify with a group perceived as their

own, while rejecting those seen as different. With the onset of the operation phase, children, who


identity and Self esteem

are now capable of rational thought, generally grow more tolerant toward "others," also showing

empathy and understanding toward children who are viewed as different. This finding shows that

the development of ethnic consciousness , although related to cognitive development, does not

mirror the child's intellectual growth. However, with cognitive maturation, ethnicity, which is

initially experienced as an image, or a set of physical attributes, becomes a mental construct

which includes language, customs, cultural facts, and general knowledge about one's own ethnic

group. Thus, to a four-year-old Mexican American child, ethnic identity is formed on the basis of

his or her recognition of certain physical traits (Bernal, Knight, Ocampo, Garza, Cota, 1993).

Later, as the person becomes aware of ethnicity as an idea, ethnic identity is experienced as an

inner quality, or, as Aboud and Skerry note in a study that compared ethnic self-perception in

kindergarten, second grade, and university students (Aboud and Skerry, 1983), internal attributes

replace external attributes as the determinants of ethnic identity. A strong sense of ethnic identity

can influence a person's self-esteem , and it can also lead to dangerous, potentially violent,

delusions, such as the idea of the "superiority" of a particular race (e.g., the Nazi myth of an

"Aryan" race) or an ethnic group justifying genocide. For some people ethnic identity is a barely

acknowledged fact of their life, while for some, it influences how they dress, speak, where they

attend school, what they eat, and who they marry.The establishment of identity is an important,

complex task for all adolescents, and is considered a major developmental task for all

adolescents. It is particularly complicated for adolescents belonging to ethnic and minority

groups. Ethnic identity of the majority group of individuals is constantly validated and reinforced

in a positive manner where as the minority group is constantly ridiculed and punished in a

negative manner. What does this say for those adolescents who are the minority and not the


identity and Self esteem

majority? It is important to study or research ethnic identity because it provides better knowledge

to help one understand striving for a sense of unity and connectivenes in which the self provides

meaning for direction and meaning of ethnic identity (Spencer, 1990). It is also important to

study or research the differences between these groups due to beliefs and values.

Adolescents that are the minority are confronted with their ethnicity at an earlier age then

Caucasian adolescents majority and they are constantly aware of ethnic differences, which

means it is of greater importance to understand the development of the minority individual. It

should lead to different assessments when it comes to ethnic identity. Tajfel and Turners (1986)

Social Identity Theory posits that part of an individuals self-concept or identity is derived from

being a part of and knowing members of a particular social group. Roberts, Phinney, Mase,

Chen, Roberts, and Romero (1999) suggested that group identity is an important aspect of self

identity because individuals generally place value on groups they belong in and derive self

esteem from their sense of belonging to that particular group. Some research states that

individuals who belong to highly valued groups are less likely to need to change their social

identity (French et al., 2006). However, if groups are devalued and subject to discrimination or

negative stereotyping, group members might try to assert a positive representation to reinstate

affirmation towards the group (Tajfel, 1978). Group members may also engage in the process of

negotiating the meaning of his or her self identity when the group is devalued (French et al.,

2006). Group identity is usually of great importance and influence when it comes to minority

groups (Phinney, 1990). Minority group members usually experience discrimination and in that

one aspect, group identification has been found to moderate and buffer negative psychological

and health effects from perceived or experienced discrimination (Cassidy, OConnor, Howe, &


identity and Self esteem

Warden, 2004; Mossakowski, 2003; Phinney, Madden & Santos, 1998; Werkuyten & Nekuee,

1999; Wong, Eccles & Sameroff, 2003). Group identity is also very important in non-Western

cultures that are collectivistic in nature because there is an immense emphasis and focus on an

individuals relationship to the group (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). Ethnicity can be considered

to be a social group and therefore has many positive implications for identity and well-being. An

ethnic group can be defined as a group in which the members have a similar social heritage

involving practices, values and beliefs (Atkinson, Morton & Sue, 1983). Ethnic identity can be

conceptualized as an individuals sense of belonging and commitment to an ethnic group:

sharing similar thoughts, perceptions, feelings and behaviors with members of that ethnic group

(Phinney, 1996). The formation of ethnic identity does not only occur during adolescence but

rather is a socialization process that begins from childhood. During this socialization process, an

individual learns and experiences the norms of the ethnic group and sees themselves and others

as members of that ethnic group (Rotheram- Borus, 1989; as cited in Spencer, Icard, Harachi,

Catalano & Oxford, 2000). Eriksons (1968) and Marcias (1980) theories both agree that ethnic

identity becomes more salient during adolescence and it begins with the awareness and

understanding of an individuals ethnicity. This in turn encourages the individual to explore his

or her ethnicity. Once an individual commits to an ethnic identity, the individual has reached a

stable ethnic identity state. Although Erikson (1968) and Marcias (1980) developmental theories

have had inconclusive results regarding the natural progression of these stages or statuses, ethnic

identity development has been based largely on these developmental theories and is assumed to

progress linearly. From these theories, it has been posited that ethnic identity will vary with age

as younger adolescents are less likely to have clear and committed ethnic identities than would


identity and Self esteem

older adolescents (French et al., 2006). Also, with increased exploration, which comes with age,

group-esteem may also increase (French et al., 2006). According to the Social Identity Theory

(Tajfel & Turner, 1986), individuals who value their ethnic group are expected to have a more

secure identity and if their ethnic group is devalued, individuals may reinstate affirmation

towards their group. By reinstating affirmation, group esteem increases and in turn increases

individuals self-esteem. Ethnic identity can also serve as a mediator of stressful events. When

faced with a stressful event, individuals may choose to either distance or strengthen their ethnic

identity which in turn provides and creates a sense of affiliation that provides protection against

negative effects (Roberts et al., 1999). Human beings begin to differentiate themselves and build

individual identity early in life. It is considered a salient part of who we are. We come to think

of that identity as dependent on the persons mind even in the face of bodily growth and

transformation (Corriveau, 2005, p. 322). That concept of identity then becomes more and more

complex as we grow older. William James, and other psychologists including Freud and

Erickson, conceived notions of identity and theorized about the process of identity development.

In James view: [He] considered the self as the I, the self as the Knower, and Me as the self as

known. The me is constituted of the material me, the social me, and the spiritual Me. The

immaterial me am the bodily possessions that the individual owns. The social me contain

the roles the individual assigns to self which are recognized by others. The spiritual me is

composed of the individuals states of consciousness, psychic faculties, and disposition. Perhaps,

the metamorphosis of self as an ethnic individual occurs when the spiritual me becomes

awakened. (Riojas Clark & Bustos Flores, 2001, p. 80) Another theory, among the many, posits

that there are seven vectors which include: 1) developing competence, 2) managing emotions,


identity and Self esteem

3) moving through autonomy toward independence, 4) developing mature interpersonal

relationships, 5) establishing identity, 6) developing purpose, and 7) developing integrity

(Hubbard, 2003, p. 4). It is clear from these descriptions of identity, which make allusions to

identity as a complex construct, that it is influenced by a variety of factors, and that a single

definition of identity and one theory of identity development do not exist. In the context of the

United States, identity is wrapped up in issues of race, gender, sexuality and class. One important

factor, which may not be as present outside of the United States, and is particularly important for

immigrant communities is race, it is a visible marker of group membership. For immigrant

groups, the process of negotiating an identity, that of a Latino, for example, is a complex

process. Coming from a place where race may not be a factor, for instance, is difficult to all of a

sudden be faced with being labeled along racial lines. In the Latin American context, analysis of

social identities has centered primarily on class, ethnicity, gender, race, and nationality,

considering ways in which elite and non-elite actors have tried to fashion the meanings of labels

such as woman, Maya, or peasant. (Olcott, 2003, p. 107). Adding to the complexity is

redefining oneself as a minority. While the construction of a minority identity is based on

identification with a group that is other, the majority group was more likely to describe

themselves utilizing universal categories, such as body image and personal attributes. (Riojas

Clark & Bustos Flores, 2001, p. 72). Susan Roberta Katz in her research found that for the first

time in [their] life[s], [immigrants] become a minority, a term meaning less than, the victim

of racial and ethnic discrimination. (Katz, 1996, p. 608). One important factor for minority

groups is the use of a particular language that links groups and creates a bond. This, too, can add

a layer of complexity.


identity and Self esteem

Arana (2001), when writing about identity, states imagine an African American, a Native

American, and an Arab American all defining themselves as the same ethnic group because they

grew up speaking the English. Imagine them calling themselves Anglos.(p. 8). The use of

Spanish, as opposed to English, is an important marker of identification with the Latino identity.

Conversely, English use, is associated with a lower chance of identification with an ethnic label

(Ono, 2002). Baez (2002), when eloquently writing about his own linguistic and cultural

experiences in relation to schooling states that [language] gives meaning to identity and culture

(e.g., Puerto Rican or American), and to discrimination and oppression (e.g., exclusion,

derision). Language regulates social existence. (p. 129) the development of an identity for

Latinos is also complex because of the issue of Labeling. In one study, the researcher provided

fifteen different ethnic identifications for Latino students to choose from, these included

Mexican, Mexicano/a, Mexican American, Chicano/a, Cuban, Puerto Rican,

Nuyorican/Neorican, Hispanic, Latino/a, Spanish, Spanish American, Raza, American, Hispano,

and Other. (Ono, 2002, p. 732). She found that identity was largely symbolic in nature,

indicating that one is something other than American (Ono, 2002). This symbolic identity is

largely influenced by the surrounding network of others who share the same, or similar, ethnic

origins. Similar to the experience of Latinos in the United States, earlier European immigrants

also developed a larger ethnic community and ethnic identity in response to post-immigration

experiences. (Ontai-Grzebik & Raffaelli, 2004). For Latinos, the ethnic communitys influences

often come in the form enseazas, such as the teaching of the concepts of familia (deep

connection and loyalty to extended family) and respeto (respect of elders) (Ontai-Grzebik &

Raffaelli, 2004, p. 563). Cultural ties and the formation of ethnic identity are largely related to


identity and Self esteem

the participation in an ethnic enclave which permits ethnic practices to continue (Ono, 2002).

Despite participation in an ethnic enclave where one has direct contact with others who share the

same cultural values, and in some cases, the same cultural practices, immigrants are still thrust

into a new environment where one is a minority, and possesses visual markers of identity.

Further, Katz (1996) found that, in her interviews with Latino youth, the students cultural

identity related to being Latino in that they saw being Latino as a marker of a minority group

which was oppressed in this society. Trueba (2002) looks at this as a positive stating that

oppression and abuse can also generate precisely the opposite resilience and cultural capital to

succeed which often creates the psychological flexibility necessary to pass for or assume

different identities for the sake of survival. (p. 20) one of the most important periods of time in

terms of identity development is adolescence. Identity becomes more salient to adolescents as

they interact with others from a variety of ethnic and minority groups. Through this process of

interaction, the concept of ethnic identity becomes more and more important (Hubbard, 2003;

Ontai-Grzebik & Raffaelli, 2004). Adolescence is a particularly important time for identity

development because it is during that stage of development they have developed the capacity for

abstract reasoning and can understand the meaning and permanency of their group

membership. (Ontai-Grzebik & Raffaelli, 2004, p. 561). Prior to the period of adolescence,

ethnic minority youth take on a view of themselves that is largely shaped by the surrounding

culture with little questioning or thought (Ontai-Grzebik & Raffaelli, 2004, p. 561). A major

feature of that acceptance is that youth become very aware that Euro Americans [see] Latinos as

uneducated, dirty, lazy and stupid (Garcia Bedolla, 2003, p. 276). That negative perception of

Latinos by the majority Latino Ethnic culture has a significant impact on ethnic identity


identity and Self esteem

development. That process of ethnic identity development changes and develops, but is always

influenced by the context of the surrounding social environment. For example, Torres and Baxter

Magolda (2004) in their research found that one of their participants, Angelica, introduced her

ethnic identity once she was sure others would not disapprove. This example elucidates the

power of external pressures to ethnic identification and the pressure to assimilate. Extending this

concept of external pressure, Katz (1996), found that the Latino youth that she studied were

faced with several choices: 1) they could internalize these negative image of their ethnicity as

part of their cultural identity. 2) They could reject these negative images and build upon the

positive associations created within their own ethnic group. 3) They could resist the stereotypes

by turning them on their heads and slapping societys faces with them (p. 610). This attainment

of these reasoning skills enables adolescents question their experiences with cultural customs,

their ethnic heritage and engage in an active exploration of their ethnic identity, then finally reify

and internalize an ethnic identity that is meaningful to them (Ontai-Grzebik & Raffaelli, 2004;

Torres & Baxter Madolda, 2004; Umaa-Taylor, Diversi, & Fine, 2002). Quite often, for youth

who are born in the United States, yet whose parents are immigrants, that identity is one of

biculturalism. In general, a bicultural identity leads to greater psychological health and positively

related to positive self-esteem (Riojas Clark & Bustos Flores, 2001). Further, those individuals

with a bicultural identity can relate effectively to both their native and the U.S. cultures and that

they feel less isolated from either culture (Umaa-Taylor, Diversi, & Fine, 2002, p. 308).

Language, more importantly the use of multiple languages, is a distinct feature of the

development of a bicultural identity permitting individuals to function in multiethnic and

multicultural environments (Trueba, 2002, p. 11). Further, this use of multiple languages, the


identity and Self esteem

flexibility to interact across racial and ethnic boundaries, and a general resilience to endure

hardships and overcome obstacles is, in Truebas (2002) view, will clearly be recognized as a

new cultural capital, not a handicap. (p. 24). This ability to be flexible and overcome hardships

is quite often linked to the presence of sources of support, in particular the family. Those Latino

adolescents who may not have strong familial support systems may fare worse, in terms of

ethnic identity, than Latino adolescents who have access to these resources. (Umaa-Taylor,

Diversi, & Fine, 2002, p. 317). These adolescents fare worse in terms of self esteem and self-

concept, which are important factors in academic achievement and to the formation of ethnic

identity. The development of a positive ethnic identity is important because of its linkage to self-

esteem. Self-esteem is often developed through comparing ourselves to the people around us,

and unless minority youth are in the majority population, and they have an opportunity to

develop a positive ethnic identity, their self-esteem may be lower than mainstream adolescents

self-esteem (Umaa-Taylor, Diversi, & Fine, 2002). However, there is evidence to the contrary.

Other researchers have posited that socioeconomic status is a much more salient factor in the

development of positive self-esteem than ethnic identity (Umaa-Taylor, Diversi, & Fine, 2002).

Ryu, Tiyoung (2004) examined the relationship between ethnic identity and self esteem

of academically high achieving Korean-Americans adolescents. Twenty five subjects responded

to Phinneys (1991) ethnic identity questions and Rosenbergs (Ref) self esteem scale. Ethnic

identity was assessed by three components; ethnic self identity, ethnic evaluation and ethnic

involvement. The results showed most subjects identify themselves as Koreans and Korean

Americans and ethnic self identity plays an important role in students ethnic involvement and


identity and Self esteem

ethnic evaluation. Moreover, positive ethnic evaluation is strongly related to active involvement.

No differences were found between gender and self esteem. Positive ethnic evaluation group and

active ethnic involvement show high self esteem scores.

Study by Jean S.Phinney (1991) that centers on self esteem and various component of

ethnic identity. His research found a weak or inconsistent relationship between self esteem and

the following components: negative stereotype of ones group; acceptance versus rejection of

ones group membership; knowledge about ones group; and commitment to the group. Phinney

suggested that a strong ethnic identity when accompanied by a positive mainstream orientation is

related to high self esteem whereas without some adaptation to the mainstream it may be

problematic. Phinney also reviewed an article that focused on the impact of identification of

ethnic culture and the well being of the member. Ethnic identity can be defined as the feelings,

attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge of an ethnic group. The article suggests that each component

of ethnic identity has a role in determining our self-esteem. The focus was on self-identification,

attitudes about the group, attitudes about group membership, and the extent of commitment to

that group. The article stressed that ethnic identity may vary across individuals and over time

and context in the same individual." Positive versus negative evaluation of one's group,

acceptance versus rejection, interest in the group, and commitment to the group were the

components tested in determining the role of ethnic identity when measuring self-esteem. The

results were weak in showing the relationship between ethnic identity and self-esteem. For

instance, a minority group member may be aware of negative images of his group, but that

member may believe that particular negative aspect does not refer to him. The self-esteem is not


identity and Self esteem

affected. The research indicated that the relationship between ethnic identity and self-esteem

seems to be stronger when the people identify themselves as members of an ethnic group and

when the ethnicity is salient. Awareness of one's ethnic identity results primarily from contact

with other ethnic groups; in a homogeneous setting, one's identity as a group member is likely to

have little salience." It is necessary for group members to identify with other groups when

interacting with mainstream culture. When minority groups bond with their own group and the

majority group, a stronger identification occurs. It is also necessary for the minority group to

identify with their group when identifying with the majority group to avoid assimilation. The

focus of this argument is that an individual with low ethnic identity and no/little integration to

mainstream culture will experience a lower self-esteem. I would suggest further research with the

acceptance versus rejection of group membership. I would imagine that an individual who

accepts his ethnic group would feel greater self-esteem and self-worth. I would approach the

research by studying the acceptance that subjects have on members who denounce their groups.

Before testing their responses, I would measure their own acceptance of their group .After the

subjects have completed both of those tasks, I would finally measure their self-esteem. I would

predict that the subjects who accepted their group membership would show greater self-esteem.

The subjects who rejected their group membership would have a lower self-esteem. Currently,

evidence for the acceptance and rejection of group membership and self-esteem is weak.

(Crocker, Luhtanen, Blaine, Broadnax 1986) also reviewed another article that focused on the

collective self-esteem and psychological well-being among White, Black, and Asian college

students as the title points out. The article defined self-esteem as "feelings of self-worth and

self-respect." It pointed out that self-esteem is strongly related to several measures of well-


identity and Self esteem

being. The psychological well-being is how well adjusted the individual is. The other half of the

study, collective self esteem, involves the "aspect of an individual's self-concept which derives

from his knowledge of his membership in a social group together with the value and emotional

significance attached to that membership. Basically, the collective self esteem (CSE) is private,

how individuals evaluate ones group, or public, how one believes others evaluate their social

group. The "collective self-esteem may predict aspects of psychological well-being that cannot

be explained by its relation to personal self-esteem. Ethnic identity has been conceptualized

using both Tajfels (1981) social identity theory and Eriksons (1968) identity formation theory.

Social identity theory posits that identity develops from both an individuals sense of belonging

to a particular group and the affective Component accompanying that sense of group

membership. Furthermore, Tajfel (1981) suggests that individuals self-esteem is derived from

their sense of group belonging and, consequently, those who maintain favorable definitions of

group membership will also exhibit positive and high self-esteem (Phinney, 1992; Phinney,

Cantu, & Kurtz, 1997). However, if the social climate in which individuals lives are embedded

does not place value on the ethnic group and individuals experience discrimination or prejudice,

they may display lower self-esteem than members of groups who do not have these experiences.

Alternatively, Eriksons identity formation theory posits that identity development occurs

through a process of exploration and commitment to important articulate that ones commitment

to a component identity is necessarily always positive. Rather, Erikson indicates that individuals

will, as a result of exploration, resolve their feelings about the role of a particular component

identity (e.g. vocational, religious, sexual, and political) within their broader social self.

Furthermore, Eriksons theory suggests that the culmination of such a period of exploration will


identity and Self esteem

lead the individual to reconcile his conception of himself and his communitys recognition of

him (Erikson, 1959, 120). In other words it is only through the process of exploration that

individuals can come to a resolution regarding a particular identity. Thus, from an Eriksonian

perspective, there are two critical components to the process of identity formation: exploration

and commitment. Note that while social identity theory focuses more on the affective

components of identity and how they are related to outcomes, Eriksons theory places greater

emphasis on the process of identity development. Marcias (1980, 1994) operationalization of

Eriksons theory of identity formation allows researchers to classify individuals, based on their

degree of exploration and commitment, intone of four identity statuses: diffuse, foreclosed,

moratorium, and achieved. According to this typology, individuals who have not explored or

committed to an identity would be considered diffuse, and those who have explored but have not

yet committed would be considered to be in moratorium. In contrast, individuals who have not

explored, but have committed to a particular identity would be considered foreclosed, whereas

those who have both explored and committed would be considered achieved. In terms of ethnic

identity, Phinney (1989) drew on Tajfels and Eriksons theories as well as Marcias

operationalization of Eriksons theory to develop a conceptualization of ethnic identity and

eventually a measure that assessed ethnic identity. Phinneys (1992) Multi group Ethnic Identity

Measure (MEIM) includes 12 items that assess individuals degree of exploration, commitment,

participation in cultural activities, and affirmation and belonging regarding their ethnic group.

The work with Hispanics in America provided an empirical evidence which suggest either a

positive association exist between strength of ethnic identity and self esteem (Martinez and Duks

1997; Lorenzo- Hernandez and Ouelet 1998) or there is no relationship at all depending on the


identity and Self esteem

groups studied (Phinney 1991). Stronger ethnic identity is associated with desirable mental

health outcomes for ethnic minorities (Phinney 1992; St Louis and Lien 2005). It has been

suggested that when there is a relationship between ethnic identity and self esteem, it exist only

for individuals for whom ethnic identity is a salient issue (Phinney 1995: 70), For example

members of ethnic minority groups whose disadvantaged status is continually reflected by

society at individual and institutional levels. Such reflections may serve as chronic reminder of

the importance of ethnicity for ethnic minorities ability to meet and navigate the social world.

Ethnic identification is best conceptualized as a continuous construct with individuals varying in

how strongly and positively they identify with a self identified social category. Dimension of

this continuous construct include the strength with which an individual identifies with their

ethnic group , the important of group membership in terms of attitudes and behavior, as well as

the valuation attached to group membership ,all of which may be set in a developmental

exploratory or achieved identity framework, depending on the age of the sample. The majority of

past research regarding ethnic identity development has focused on comparing the development

of identity of individuals from ethnic majority groups and ethnic minority groups (e.g., Contrada

et al., 2001; Kiang et al., 2006; Lee & Yoo, 2004; Martinez & Dukes, 1997; Romero & Roberts,

1998; Umana-Taylor, 2004). However, in the last decade, there has been an increase in research

regarding the ethnic development and well-being of individuals who have dual or multiple ethnic

backgrounds. Dual ethnic marriages are on the rise worldwide and are becoming more

commonly accepted in society. It would be critical and beneficial to learn and understand more

about the developmental processes and outcomes that are experienced and produced by children


identity and Self esteem

from multiethnic marriages. Research on multiethnic individuals commonly use the terms dual

ethnic, multiethnic, multiracial, mixed ethnic, mixed race, biracial and half caste to describe

individuals who have a mother and a father who are from two different races or ethnicities.

Individuals with parents from the same race or ethnic group are referred to as monoracial or

monoethnic individuals. The term half caste was commonly used in earlier ethnic identity

research to describe individuals with multiple ethnicities but today that term may imply more

negative sentiments and implications as compared to the currently and more frequently used term

mixed race or mixed ethnicity. The terminology for race and ethnicity differ from each other

because race is defined as a biological category that is primarily evident as a physical

characteristic and does not necessarily encompass cultural values (Fatimilehin, 1999), but

ethnicity is usually defined as a group of individuals which share a social heritage which involve

sharing similar practices, values and beliefs (Fatimilehin, 1999; Phinney, 1996). Some

researchers are even of the opinion that ethnicity involves more than just cultural behaviors but

encompasses sociological factors, socio-economic conditions and social and political realities.



identity and Self esteem

Methodological Details

Sample population

Sixty two Turkish Cypriots students thirty six females and twenty six males participated

in this study. There were between the ages of sixteen and twenty five, with mean age of 19.5.

Twenty seven were from Girne American University. Twenty one students were from Eastern

Mediterranean University. Fourteen students are recruited online from other higher institutions in

Northern Cyprus. Twenty eight of the participants were born outside Cyprus. There have dual

nationality but are currently living in Cyprus. They all speak Turkish language. Thirty four

participants were born in Cyprus and have single nationality.

Research Instruments

Ethnic identity

The Multi group Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) (Phinney, 1992) was used to assess

participants ethnic identity. The MEIM comprises of two factors showing high internal

consistency reliability. The first factor pertains to ethnic identity search, which is the

developmental and cognitive component. The second factor refers to affirmation, belonging and

commitment, which is the affective component (Roberts, Phinney, Masse, Chen, Roberts, &

Romero, 1999). The total scale consists of 12-items (e.g. I participate in cultural practices of my

own group, such as special food, music or customs, and I am happy that I am a member of the


identity and Self esteem

group I belong to). Items were scored using a 4-point scale, ranging from (1) strongly disagree

to (4) strongly agree. A mean score was obtained from the sum of the 12 items describing the

level of ethnic identity. A high mean score was accepted to a high level of ethnic identity, while

a low mean score was accepted to reflect low ethnic identity. Previous studies show Cronbachs

alphas ranging from = 0.75 to 0.88 (Abu-Rayya, 2006; Bracey, Bamaca, & Umana-Taylor,

2004; Phinney & Devich-Navarro, 1997) and a test-retest reliability coefficient of 0.25 for a

period of 6 weeks (Reese, Vera, & Paikoff, 1998).


Rosenbergs (1979) Self-esteem Scale was used to assess participants self-esteem. This

measure is comprised of 10 items (e.g., At times I think I am no good at all) with end points of

strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (4). Questions 2, 5, 6, 8 and 9 were reverse coded. Mean

scores were calculated and were taken as the overall scores. Items were scored such that higher

scores were taken to indicate higher self-esteem. This scale has been used with ethnically diverse

populations (e.g., Mexican, Dominican, Puerto Rican, African American, and White adolescents)

sand has obtained moderate coefficient alphas (e.g., .79 to .85) with these samples (Der-

Karabetian & Ruiz, 1997; Lorenzo-Hernandez & Ouellette, 1998; Martinez & Dukes, 1997;

Phinney, Cantu, & Kurtz, 1997). Previous studies show Cronbachs alpha scores ranging from

= 0.73 to 0.87 (Abu-Rayya, 2006; Roberts et al., 1999; Romero & Roberts, 2003; Werkuyten &

Nekuee, 1999). The RSE has been reported to have a test-retest reliability of 0.88 over a 2-week

testing period (Silber & Tippet, 1965; as cited in Hatcher, 2007).


identity and Self esteem

Data collection and analysis

The two questionnaires were administered to sixty two Turkish Cypriots undergraduates

students from various higher institutions in Northern Cyprus. Twenty eight students have dual

nationality and thirty four have single nationality. Completed questionnaires were collected;

collated and analyzed using SPSS 14 software and all statistical analyses for this study used an

alpha level of 5%. The objective of this study was to asses the relationship between ethnic

identity and self esteem among Turkish Cypriots. It also explored whether or not ethnic identity

and self esteem is influenced by gender differences. This study focused on several research


4) What is the current understanding of ethnicity among Turkish Cypriots students?

5) Is there a relationship between ethnic identity and self esteem among Turkish Cypriots?

6) What are the identifying characteristics in the personal backgrounds of participants

whose perception and /or development of ethnic identity has been influenced by exposure

to other nationality.

Quantitative data were collected from the participants in order to answer the above research

questions. Quantitative data, collected using closed-ended questions in the survey, were analyzed

using two main types of quantitative methodologies: mean and standard deviation, applying

frequency distribution on variables. To facilitate data analysis, a score of 1 to 4 was given to

each question of the MEIM component (items 1 through 12). The Likert scale used gave the

score of 4 for strongly agree, 3 for agree, 2 for disagree, and 1 for strongly disagree. Answers


identity and Self esteem

with the highest level of ethnic identity search, affirmation, belonging, and commitment, or

other-group orientation received a score of 4 on a four point scale, and decreased to the score of

1, which indicated low ethnic identity search or affirmation, belonging, and commitment.

Questions numbered 1, 2, 4, 8, and 10 assessed ethnic identity search, while items 3, 5, 6, 7, 9,

11, 12 evaluated affirmation, belonging, and commitment. Items 13, 14, and 15 were used only

for purposes of identification and categorization by ethnicity. MEIM scores were determined by

calculating the mean of the first 12 items. Thus, participants overall MEIM scores ranged 1

through 4. Individual scores for search, commitment, affirmation and belonging were determined

by taking the mean of corresponding items. On self esteem scale, 0-15 indicated low self esteem,

15-25 showed moderately high and 25- 30 indicated very high self esteem. Finally, ethnic

identity measure and self esteem were analyzed for correlation.


identity and Self esteem



No Females Males

Population of study 62 36 26

Dual nationality 28 16 12

Single nationality 34 20 14

Parents Ethnicity Single nationality group Dual nationality group

Turkish / Cypriot 29 5

Cypriot /Cypriot 9 19

Schools No

Eastern Mediterranean University 21

Girne American University 27

Others 14

Table I and II present the demographics of study population

Table III present the sample size, mean and standard deviation of self esteem scores for the study



identity and Self esteem

category gender Mean SD N

General Male 24.44 2,372 26

Female 22.41 2.301 36

Total 23.43 2.227 62

Dual Male 24.14 2,446 12

Female 22.05 2.211 16

Total 23.10 2.321 28

Single Male 21.23 2,469 14

Female 20.04 2.100 20

Total 20.71 2.3.21 34

Table III indicated that dual nationality group has higher self esteem than the single nationality

group. Males also have slightly higher self esteem than females. In general, both genders and

groups have above average of 23.43 out of 30 in the self esteem scale.

Table IV

Mean score and standard deviation for each question of the Multi-ethnic Identity Measure
(MEIM) for the entire group of participants, single nationality and dual nationality.


identity and Self esteem


(N = (N = (N=
34 28)

Items M SD M SD M SD

1. I have spent time trying 2.17 .83 2.00 . 87 2. 67 .58

to find out more about my

ethnic group, such as its

history, traditions, and custom.

2. I am active in organization 2.58 . 90 3.00 .50 1.33 .58

social groups that include m


of my own ethnic group.

3. I have a clear sense of 2.93 .72 2.78 . 67 3.00 1.0

my ethnic background and

what it means for me.

4. I think a lot about how 2.33 . 69 2.22 . 67 2. 67 1.5

my life will be affected by

my ethnic group


5. I am happy that I am a 3.33 . 65 3.22 . 67 3. 67 .58

member of the group I

belong to.


identity and Self esteem

6. I have a strong sense of 2.92 . 29 2.89 0.33 3.00 0.0

belonging to my own

ethnic group

7. I understand pretty well 2.92 .79 2.89 .78 3.00 1.0

what my ethnic group

membership means to me.

8. In order to learn more 2.00 .74 1.89 .78 2.33 .58

about my ethnic

background, I have often

talked to other people

about my ethnic group.

9. I have a lot of pride in 2.92 .79 2.67 .71 3.67 .58

my ethnic group

10. I participate in cultural 2.58 .67 2.56 .53 2.67 .58

practices of my own

group, such as special

food, music, or customs.

11. I feel a strong 2.75 .75 2.78 . 67 2.67 1.2

attachment towards my

own ethnic group.

12. I feel good about my 2.92 .29 2. 89 .33 3.00 .

cultural or ethnic background 59

Average 2.91 .69 2.65 .63 2.80 .68


identity and Self esteem

GP= General Participants, SN= Single Nationality, DN= Dual Nationality=Standard Deviation,

M= Mean

Table V

Mean score and standard deviation for each question of the Multi-ethnic Identity Measure
(MEIM) for the entire group of participants, females and males.

Males Females
N =( 36)

Items M SD M SD

1. I have spent time trying 2.47 .72 2.53 . 77

to find out more about my

ethnic group, such as its

history, traditions, and custom.

2. I am active in organization 2.48 . 70 3.30 .50

social groups that include m


of my own ethnic group.

3. I have a clear sense of 2.93 .75 2.98 . 67

my ethnic background and

what it means for me.

4. I think a lot about how 2.13 . 69 2.44 . 57

my life will be affected by


identity and Self esteem

my ethnic group


5. I am happy that I am a 3.23 . 65 3.42 . 43

member of the group I

belong to.

6. I have a strong sense of 2.42 . 29 2.89 0.53

belonging to my own

ethnic group

7. I understand pretty well 2.92 .79 2.77 .78

what my ethnic group

membership means to me.

8. In order to learn more 2.03 .75 2.89 .78

about my ethnic

background, I have often

talked to other people

about my ethnic group.

9. I have a lot of pride in 2.92 .79 2.77 .71

my ethnic group

10. I participate in cultural 2.55 .77 2.56 .53

practices of my own

group, such as special

food, music, or customs.

11. I feel a strong 2.73 .74 2.78 . 67


identity and Self esteem

attachment towards my

own ethnic group.

12. I feel good about my 2.92 .29 2. 89 .73

cultural or ethnic background

Average 2.69 .68 2.95 .43

The first question in this research study asked about the current understanding of ethnicity

among Turkish Cypriot students. The data indicated that for the Multi Ethnic Identity Measure,

MEIM, portion of the survey the average ethnic identity measure was 2.91 out of 4.0 (N = 62,

SD = 0.679) (see Table IV). This was an average score of 2.90 for each individual MEIM item,

which indicates moderate understanding of ethnicity. Females also showed a higher ethnic

identity average of 2.95 than males = 2.69 Broken down by the measures two determining sub-

scales, the data indicate that the average ethnic identity search score was 2.33 while the average

affirmation, belonging, and commitment sub-score was higher at 2.90. This suggests that on

average participants indicated they disagreed with statements about searching for ethnic identity,

which is one of three factors of ethnic identity. However, participants reported on average that

they agreed with statements affirming feelings of belonging to ones group and positive affect

toward participants own group. In general participants did not average a score of 3, the

equivalent of indicating agree, on both major factors of the measure. Thus the participants had

not actualized their ethnic identity. The participants indicated the lowest levels of agreement with

Item 8 (M = 2.00, SD = 0.74) which asked them to indicate how much time they spend talking to

others in order to learn more about their own group. The findings suggest they do not engage in


identity and Self esteem

conversations about what it means to be a member of a particular ethnic group. The findings also

suggest a low level of agreement on Item 1 (M = 2.17, SD = 0.83) of the MEIM which asked the

participants whether they spend time trying to find out more about their ethnic group, such as its

history, traditions, and customs. Thus these findings suggest that participants do not actively seek

to know more about their ethnic group.

Table VI- Result of Pearson Product moment correlation coefficient of self esteem and ethnic

identity or dual nationality group.


Dual Ntlty Dual Ntlty

ethnic identity self esteem
Dual Ntlty ethnic identity Pearson Correlation 1.000 .273
Sig. (2-tailed) . .159
N 28 28
Dual Ntlty self esteem Pearson Correlation .273 1.000
Sig. (2-tailed) .159 .
N 28 28

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

For this group, ethnic identity and self esteem have a positive relationship. r =.273, p= .159 the

correlation is significant at the 0.5 level (2 tailed).this result supported the hypothesis which


identity and Self esteem

stated that there will be a significant positive relationship between ethnic identity and self esteem

among those that have dual nationality. Table VII- Result of Pearson Product moment correlation

coefficient of self esteem and ethnic identity for single nationality group

C o rre la tio n s

Sn g .N tlty Sn g .N tlty se lf
e th n ic id e n tity e ste e m
Sn g .N tlty e th n ic id e n tity
Pe a rso n C o rre la tio n 1 .0 0 0 -.1 8 6
Sig . (2 -ta ile d ) . .2 9 2
N 34 34
Sn g .N tlty se lf e ste e m Pe a rso n C o rre la tio n -.1 8 6 1 .0 0 0
Sig . (2 -ta ile d ) .2 9 2 .
N 34 34

Single nationality group showed negative but not significant. correlation as proposed in the

hypothesis, r= -.186, p= .292.



The current study investigated whether there were differences in ethnic identity and self

esteem between dual nationality and single nationality Turkish Cypriots students in Northern

Cyprus .It also investigated the relationship of ethnic identity and self esteem. The study used 2

measures to collect the needed information: Multi-group Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM;

Phinney, 1992) and Rosenberg Self- Esteem Scale (RSE; Rosenberg, 1965). Females showed


identity and Self esteem

higher ethnic identity than males as proposed in hypothesis 3d but males showed slightly higher

self esteem than the females. Prior research has provided limited support for this finding with

African Americans phinney,1989; phinney & tarver, 1988) and Asian Americans (Ting-

Toomey, 1981). Phinney (1990) suggested that females have traditionally been carries of ethnic

traditions and are often oriented toward interpersonal harmony, and therefore, may be more

likely to report stronger identification with their ethnic group (Rotherram-Borus, lightfoot,

Moraes, Dopkins& Lacour, 1998). The closing part of this thesis will address the findings of this

study, its implications for research and its applicability to be used in areas outside of academia.

Hypothesis 1a hypothesized that there would be a significant positive relationship between ethnic

identity and self esteem among Turkish Cypriots that have dual nationality. The result supported

the hypothesis. When ethnic identity increased, self esteem would also increase. The results

confirm previous research that shows that ethnic identity and self esteem have a significant

positive relationship in a minority group with multi ethnicity (Abu-Rayya, 2006; Bracey,

Bamaca, & Umana-Taylor, 2004; Martinez & Dukes, 1997; Neto & Barros, 2007; Phinney,

1992; Phinney & Alipuria, 1996; Roberts et al., 1999; Umana-Taylor, 2004). The results also

showed negative but non significant relationship between ethnic identity and self esteem among

those that have single nationality. In a separate correlations, both male and female in single

nationality group show negative relationship between ethnic identity and self esteem. This result

showed that ethnic identity has an inverse relationship with self esteem. This indicates that those

who score low on self esteem also tend to demonstrate higher level of ethnic identity. According

to social identity theory, identification with the in-group tends to bolster our self esteem. One

explanation for this robust relationship is that high levels of ethnic identity serve to protect


identity and Self esteem

individuals from the effects of negative stereotypes and discrimination by providing them a

larger frame of reference with which to identify and, in turn, protecting their psychological well-

being (Martinez and Dukes, 1997) The similarity that exist between the scores obtained from the

two groups could be explained based on the fact that the two groups ,irrespective of their

different birth place, have the same religion, speak the same language and belong to a minority

group.Phinney and Alipuria (1990) showed that minority group status have significant effect on

self esteem. A strong relationship between ethnic identity development and self-esteem has been

demonstrated among college student minority groups, but not for Whites (Phinney, 1992;

Phinney & Alipuria, 1990). Research indicates that minority group status alone, does not impact

self-esteem negatively. It is a lack of identification, a sense of not belonging to a group that

negatively influences self-esteem (Phinney et al., 1997). According to Phinney, Chavira, and

Williamson (1992), there are four ways an individual may choose to participate in society:

assimilation, integration, separation, and marginality. Assimilation occurs when an individual

abandons all connections to ethnicity in order to identify with the dominant culture. Integration

occurs when the individual identifies strongly and is involved with both the ethnic and the

dominant cultures. Separation is characterized by minimal if any interaction with the dominant

culture and an intense focus on the ethnic group and its traditions and values. Marginality is

characterized by forfeiture of the individual's native culture and an absence of involvement with

the dominant culture (Phinney et al., 1992. According to Berry (1995), identity confusion is a

possible effect of stress related to acculturation. First-generation Americans may have difficulty

determining their affiliate group, which may negatively influence self-esteem. Ethnic identity

and self-esteem are often correlated and predict each other over time, which many researchers


identity and Self esteem

suggest indicates an interactive effect. According to Phinney, a clear positive sense of ones

background may contribute to positive self attitudes. At the same time, high self-esteem may

provide the confidence needed to explore difficult issues, such as the questioning of stereotypes,

which leads to an achieved ethnic identity. From the 1980s through 1998, Phinney performed

extensive research on adolescents from several ethnic groups to identify the significance of

ethnic identity to academic achievement. She found that the process of ethnic identity

development has clear implications for overall psychological adjustment. This work suggests that

the process of ethnic identity development, not minority group membership, is the key factor to

understanding the self-esteem and adjustment of minority youth. Phinneys research has shown

that minority youth do not differ in self-esteem from white youth. However, concern remains that

the failure of minority adolescents to deal with their ethnicity could have negative implications

such as poor self-image and a sense of alienation. Phinney (1998) states, It seems likely that

adolescents who have not examined and resolved issues regarding their ethnicity would be at

greater risk for adjustment problems (p. 41). Phinney (1989) found that adolescents in the

exploration phase of ethnic identity scored lower on self concept than those with an achieved

ethnic identity. She indicates that involvement in ones cultural or racial background is an

important aspect of this phase and a positive sense of ones group may be central to ones self-

perceptions. She identifies the central component of this achieved, internalized identity as a

strong, positive feeling about oneself as a member of ones ethnic or racial group. She sees

ethnic and racial identity as psychological buffers and self-protective strategies for coping with

prejudice, discrimination, and stigmatization.


identity and Self esteem

Application of this study

This study adds to current research done with a Turkish Cypriots populations and can be used by

the Cypriots government to promote unity and peace in the country. The results showed that

there were slightly differences between the two groups on ethnic identity The TRNC government

can also use this study to gain a better understanding about the perceived discrimination and

resistance that is faced by the inhabitants of Northern Cyprus and makes changes in government

policies to ensure that all right of citizens are looked after. The Ministry of Education, heads of

government schools and teachers who counsel students in schools may take an interest in gaining

a better understanding of what psychological factors influence violent behaviors in schools and

that discrimination-victims are the individuals who suffer the most negative repercussions from

bullying in schools. They can also learn how self esteem is a good indicator of well being and

can create initiatives or even nationwide educational policies that will encourage students to

learn at school. Also teachers should learn how to teach students to appreciate themselves better

and to build up their self esteem. If children and adolescents have strong self esteem, they are

more likely to have better life satisfaction, suffer from less perceived discrimination and take

part in less antisocial behaviors. In academia, this research can be used to build up the

knowledge base about different ethnicities and whether there are differences between ethnicities

on identity development. This research also contributes to the expanding knowledge being

gathered about monoethnic and multiethnic individuals worldwide across cultures.

Future research


identity and Self esteem

One of the areas that need to be further researched is the reliability and suitability of the current

measures used to measure ethnic identity. It is important when doing cross cultural research

whether the current measures being used are suitable to be used across cultures in different

countries and are they sensitive enough to measure identity development that differs from the

norm. The MEIM is a valid and reliable measure to use but it has been found to have different

factor structures with certain sample population. Phinney and Ong (2007) have re analyses and

restructured a new MEIM which only has 6 items as compared to the current 12 or 15 items

MEIM. Further studies need to be done to analyze the suitability of these testing measures to

ensure valid results. Also, it would be good to use the MEIM in more countries, in different

languages, to assess its reliability when used across cultures. Future research should also aim to

conduct longitudinal studies instead of cross sectional studies. A longitudinal study by Hitlin,

Brown and Elder, Jr. (2006) found that adolescents switched ethnicities in a span of 5 years

and adolescents with higher self-esteem were less likely to change ethnicities than those with

lower self esteem. Longitudinal data is needed to completely understand the developmental

process related to ethnicity. A longitudinal study will also allow for interpretations regarding

commonalities and differences between and within minority and majority ethnic groups (Romero

& Roberts, 1998). Currently there is a lot of research using university students as participants but

not many of these studies use participants who are in their early adolescence or even in their

middle to late adulthood (Kalsner & Pistole, 2003; Lee & Yoo, 2004; Stephan & Stephan, 1989).

For future studies, research should be done using participants in early and middle adolescence as

well as middle and late adulthood so researchers can gather more information about identity

development in a longitudinal progression. Following an individuals identity development will


identity and Self esteem

help gain even more information regarding identity development and ethnic identity

development. Conclusively, there are some limitations of the present study worth mentioning.

There were very little previous research on Turkish Cypriots and Northern Cyprus. This makes it

very difficult to get required information. Secondly, individuals participating in this study are all

undergraduates. It is possible that students with higher levels of education or lower education

status will view ethnic identity and self-esteem in a different way. Future studies should examine

whether the findings of the present study can be generalized to minority group with higher

educational levels. Furthermore, this study solely relies on cross-sectional data, which limits the

possibility of making causal inferences. Longitudinal research is needed to test the direction and

the strength of the relationship. Nevertheless, this study does corroborate findings from previous

studies showing a positive relation between adolescent behaviors, self-esteem and their ethnic

identity (Phinney et al., 1990, 1992; Rotheram-Borus, 1989; Umaa-Taylor, 2004; Verkuyten,

2001). The sample size was very small. Getting access to Turkish Cypriot students was an uphill

task and very challenging. So it made it difficult to obtain the sample size necessary to achieve

the required power of this research. Language barrier was another mitigating factor. Finally, this

study was not focused on the more qualitative meaning of ethnic identity and self esteem for the

two groups. It is considered important to examine and understand the richness of meanings and

experiences associated with ethnic identity and ethnic minority status (Sellers, Smith, Shelton,

Rowley, & Chavous, 1998). For instance, to improve knowledge about ethnic identity it is

important to understand what meaning individual give to their ethnic identity. Possibly there are

ethnic differences in the meaning attached to the subject of ethnic identity. In future studies it

may be relevant to examine the way people define their ethnic identity (Taylor, Moghaddam, &


identity and Self esteem

Bellerose, 1989; Verkuyten, 1997). Although it was beyond the scope of the current study, future

studies might want to consider issues like measurement invariance (i.e. whether the same

concept is measured in the different groups) or might want to use more qualitative methods like

interviewing techniques to get more insight in the meaning of ethnic identity for Turkish

Cypriots with dual nationality or single nationality. In spite of these limitations, the findings of

this study provide some insight on how minority group develop identity and its relationship with

self esteem. This will provide a step for future research in the Northern Cyprus with regards to

identity; it might be helpful in this process of peace negotiation on the island for social workers,

psychologists and politicians in Northern Cyprus to carry out more research on ethnic

identification among its citizen. Little research has been conducted on the relationship between

ethnic identity and self-esteem. There are several different aspects to this topic that could be

studied. It is important to look at the differences and similarities across different ethnic groups,

like multi ethnic groups .Research should also be conducted to discover other psychological

constructs that might have an effect on how individuals identify with their ethnic group like

religion, educational status, political system, socio economic status.



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Appendix A -Phinney ethnic identity scale

These questions are about your ethnicity or your ethnic group and how you feel about it or react

to it. Please answer the questions with utmost honesty. Please fill in: In terms of ethnic group, I

consider myself to be ____________________Use the numbers below to indicate how much you

agree or disagree with each statement.

(4) Strongly agree (3) Agree (2) Disagree (1) strongly disagree

1- I have spent time trying to find out more about my ethnic group, such as

its history, traditions, and customs. ( )

2- I am active in organizations or social groups that include mostly members


identity and Self esteem

of my own ethnic group. ( )

3- I have a clear sense of my ethnic background and what it means for me. ( )

4- I think a lot about how my life will be affected by my ethnic group membership. ( )

5- I am happy that I am a member of the group I belong to. ( )

6- I have a strong sense of belonging to my own ethnic group. ( )

7- I understand pretty well what my ethnic group membership means to me. ( )

8- In order to learn more about my ethnic background, I have often talked

to other people about my ethnic group. ( )

9- I have a lot of pride in my ethnic group. ( )

10- I participate in cultural practices of my own group, such as special food,

music or customs. ( )

11- I feel a strong attachment towards my own ethnic group. ( )

12- I feel good about my cultural or ethnic background. ( )

13- My ethnicity is

(1) Cypriots

(2) Turkish

(3)Turkish Cypriots

14- My father's ethnicity is (use numbers above)

15- My mother's ethnicity is (use numbers above)

Appendix B Rosenberg self esteem scale


identity and Self esteem

No Statement Strongl Disagr Strongly

y Agree ee

1 I feel that I am a person of


2 I feel that I have a number of

good qualities.

3 All in all, I am inclined to

feel that I am a failure.

4 I am able to do things as
well as most other people.

5 I feel I do not have much to

be proud of.

6 I take a positive attitude

toward my self.

7 On the whole I am satisfied

with my self.

8 I wish I could have more

respect for my self.

9 I certainly feel useless at


10 At I think I am no good at

Tick on the box that best describe the way you feel about yourself .your responses will be used

for research purposes only and will be treated with utmost confidentiality. Thanks for your



identity and Self esteem