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Dissertation

Racial identity development and related aspects of life: A qualitative exploration of the experiences of biracial women

24 July 2001

Abstract

The number of biracial individuals living in the United States has grown dramatically since the 1960' s. Research with this growing population has focused on racial identity development, a critical and unique developmental process for biracial individuals. Although the literature on racial identity development has grown, more is still needed. In addition, there have been no investigations into other aspects of biracial individuals' lives. Biracial individuals are multidimensional and exploring these dimensions (i.e., significant roles, values, and philosophical beliefs) may help professionals to more fully understand biracial people. The present study was designed to explore the Subjective meanings and experiences of biracial women. A qualitative research study was conducted. Ten biracial women were interviewed about their experiences as related to their racial identity development. The second focus of the study was an exploration of the significant roles, values, and philosophical beliefs that participants deemed important. Eight themes emerged to describe the experiences of biracial women as they related to their racial identity development and their significant roles, values, and philosophical beliefs: 1) racial identification and process of identification, 2) recognition of racial/ethnic differences, 3) role of family, 4) perceived benefits and challenges of being biracial, 5) role of community, 6) role of peers, 7) pride in racial/ethnic heritages, and 8) a significant value: acceptance of others.


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