Social and cultural influences in the formation of identity: A cross-national/cultural study

Ervin Briones, Florida International University


This multi-site, multi-ethnic/cultural study examined the effects of variation between ethnic/cultural groups and the effects of institutional variation within ethnic/cultural groups on identity formation. The participants were 892 late adolescent college students from six sites in 5 countries (Brazil, China, Costa Rica, US, and Sweden) representing different linguistic and ethnic/cultural traditions living in the context of varied social conditions. As hypothesized, there were significant differences in the proportion of identity statuses between sites in the Personal domain, $\chi\sp2$(20, N = 858) = 164.78, $p<.001,$ the Interpersonal domain, $\chi\sp2$(20, N = 858) = 145.69, $p<.001,$ and the World View domain, $\chi\sp2$(20, N = 858) = 120.89, $p<.001,$ but the distribution of the differences was more complex than expected. In addition, there were significant differences in Identity Satisfaction among sites, F(15, 2325) = 12.65, $p<.001.$ Further univariate analyses revealed that differences among sites were found on Identity Satisfaction in the personal, interpersonal and world view domain. The direction of the differences, however, were more complex than hypothesized. The second hypothesis was confirmed but only with the world view identity status and not for each of the six sites. Stepwise discriminant analyses showed that Identity status in the world view domain was predicted by Institutional Support in Nebraska, gender and Institutional Change in Brazil, and Institutional Access in China. Lastly and as hypothesized, some Institutional Attributes significantly predicted Overall Identity Satisfaction in all sites as revealed by multivariate regression analyses, except in Sweden, F (5, 79) =.660, p =.65. These findings extend the literature on identity formation not only by having investigated how culture influences the process of identity formation with samples representing different ethnic/cultural and linguistically different populations but also by empirically testing the role that social processes play in identity formation at the cross-cultural level.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Briones, Ervin, "Social and cultural influences in the formation of identity: A cross-national/cultural study" (1997). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9813420.