Can Identity Conflicts Impede the Success of Ethnic Minority Students? Consequences of Discrepancies Between Ethnic and Ideal Selves

Posted on 2018-06-07 - 12:00

Because of stigma and underrepresentation, many ethnic minority students may find it difficult to align their ethnicities with their ideal selves. However, these difficulties and their potential consequences have been empirically neglected. To inform this gap in the literature, we propose that the novel concept of ethnic/ideal self-discrepancies (i.e., perceived mismatches between who a person aspires to be and this person’s conception of their ethnic self) is associated with the academic outcomes of ethnic minority students. As hypothesized, large ethnic/ideal self-discrepancies predict high academic disengagement, according to cross-sectional data from Study 1 (n = 147) and Study 2 (n = 105), as well as high academic disengagement 2 months later according to half-longitudinal data from Study 2 (n = 78). In Study 3 (n = 99), ethnic minority students experimentally induced to perceive high ethnic/ideal self-discrepancies reported significantly higher academic disengagement than ethnic minority students in a low discrepancy condition.


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