College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

11-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

College/Department Conferring Degree

Psychology

Keywords

gay and bisexual male youth, ethnic identity, sexual identity, gender identity, multiple identity integration

Abstract

For adolescents who belong to multiple minority groups, such as those who are ethnic and sexual minorities, they must develop both their ethnic and sexual identities as they develop their overall identity (Chung & Katayama, 1998). The goal of this study was to examine the ways in which ethnic and sexual minority male adolescents integrate their multiple identities, and to examine how their presentation of their identities changes depending on context. Because of the various types of data collected for each participant, a case study analysis (Yin, 1981) was employed to determine the themes and differences across participants and within each participant. The data that composed each individual participant’s case included the quantitative survey, the qualitative interview, and the Man Drawings. The results indicated that the youth in the study were able to integrate their multiple identities into their larger self-concept in spite of the various barriers to identity integration in all the communities in which they interacted. However, this was not completed without significant effort, as the participants indicated that they were developing their sense of ethnic, sexual, and gender identities at the time of data collection. The results indicated that the youth were able to develop a complex sense of self despite the presence of both positive and negative messages maintained by elements of all the communities of their membership. This process was further complicated because these identities were still under development during the integration process. Despite these challenges, the youth were able to integrate the many parts of themselves into one larger cohesive self-concept. Concerning the presentation of these multiple identities, the youth also engaged in a creative process to avoid the negative elements within their multiple communities by managing the expression of particular identities while participating in various aspects of their communities. The youth were adept in understanding the level of acceptance concerning their identities, and managed their behaviors to either minimize or enhance the visibility of particular aspects of themselves. Similar to the process of identity integration, the ways in which youth presented their identities was unique to the individual and their circumstances.

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