Latinx Identity and Intersectional Responses to Stigma

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Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology

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Objectives: Belonging to a stigmatized group presents a predicament between relying on your group as a source of support versus renouncing your group to avoid stigma and discrimination. We investigate how perceived stigma affects changes in group identification and whether this depends on other axes of advantage to which participants have access. We hypothesized that for Latinx undergraduate students, perceptions of stigma would predict increased ethnic identification but that access to other markers of advantage would dampen this effect. Methods: We measured ethnic identification, perceived stigma against one’s ethnic group, gender, income, and first-generation college status among Latinx undergraduates (N = 171). One year later, we assessed changes in ethnic identification using the same measure. Regression analyses assessed whether gender, income, and first-generation college status moderated the effect of perceived stigma on end-of-year ethnic identification, controlling for initial ethnic identification. Results: Controlling for initial ethnic identification, end-of-year ethnic identification was higher when participants perceived that their ethnic group was regarded negatively by others. However, this effect was only present among relatively low-income and first-generation college students. Conclusion: Intersectional perspectives are needed to understand how individuals manage stigmatized identities. Stigmatized individuals who face disadvantages in other areas may be more likely to depend on their devalued groups as a source of esteem and belonging.


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