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Ethnic identity development and American Indian women

12 December 1997


Models of ethnic identity development exist for specific ethnic groups in the U.S., however there is no such model for American Indian (AI) women. This paper identifies and reviews two general approaches to ethnic identity development, and discusses their applicability to AI women. Of the models reviewed, the Racial/Cultural Identity Development (R/CID) model (Sue & Sue, 1990) was considered the most heuristically useful. With the addition of some considerations unique to AI women this model could be valuable in understanding their ethnic identity development. An accurate understanding of ethnic identity development by mental health practitioners appears to have positive implications for both process and outcome of mental health interventions. Further research which explores the actual experiences of AI women is recommended.


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