Little attention has been paid to the intersection of racial/ethnic identity and gender identity, resulting in the inadvertent exclusion in psychological research of women of color, a population with minority status in both groups. Extant research also neglects contextual complexities that may shape these women's experiences, including negotiating gender identity in the face of a patriarchal racial/ethnic group. Using both additive (quantitative) and intersectional (qualitative) approaches, the current study investigated how racial/ethnic identity and gender identity are related and their implications for psychosocial functioning. In Phase I (additive), it was expected that H1) among women of color, racial/ethnic identity and gender identity - both a) independently and b) additively - will be associated with psychosocial functioning (e.g., self-esteem, mental health, career, relationships). Additionally, it was expected that H2) women with strong gender and racial/ethnic identities will report the lowest levels of psychosocial functioning when also perceiving their racial/ethnic group as traditional and patriarchal. Only gender identity was significantly associated with increased self-esteem and better quality of relationships. In Phase II (intersectional), the study also examined RQ1) how a subset of these women of color perceive their gender and racial/ethnic identities, particularly when faced with patriarchal messages about women from their own racial/ethnic groups. Racial/ethnic, gender, and intersectional identities were all found to be low and not critical to women of color's core sense of self. Analyses also revealed potential explanations for these low identities, including lack of depth in content of identity and difficulty in articulating intersectional identity experiences. Combining these two data, Phase III (integrative; RQ2) explored ways in which women of color's perceptions about racial/ethnic identity and gender identity (intersectional approach) explain or discount findings from an additive approach, particularly with respect to psychosocial functioning. Results highlighted the complexities of how constellations of racial/ethnic and gender identity strength (e.g., high racial/ethnic and gender identities, high racial/ethnic but low gender identities) are experienced by women of color. Moreover, results revealed how these women deal and adapt to the life challenges unique to the intersection of their racial/ethnic and gender identities.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2014. Major: Psychology. Advisors: Moin Syed, Ph.D. & Richard M. Lee, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 195 pages, appendices A-H.
Juan, Mary Joyce deGuzman.
Intersections of racial/ethnic identity and gender identity among women of color.
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