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A mixed methods exploration of the role of friends and identity in multiracial adolescent girls' mental health

Austin, Sarah Joyce; (2018) A mixed methods exploration of the role of friends and identity in multiracial adolescent girls' mental health. Doctoral thesis (D.Ed.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis used mixed methods to explore how peers and friends influence the ethnic identity and mental health of multiracial adolescent girls. This drew upon social identity theory and ecological theory to understand why multiracial girls may have different outcomes to their monoracial peers, and which factors in their environment can promote their identity and wellbeing. Educational Psychologists (EPs) have a key role in supporting positive mental health for all children and young people. The multiracial population in the UK is growing. Historically multiracial groups have been overlooked in UK research, although some national studies show multiracial adolescents may be at greater risk of poor mental health. Little research has explored the role of friends and peers in multiracial adolescent mental health, despite the robust findings that peers become more important during adolescence. In an ethnically diverse Local Authority in London, 109 mid-adolescent girls (mean age 13.9) from diverse ethnic groups took part in a questionnaire measuring ethnic identity, self-esteem, socio-emotional functioning, peer discrimination, friendship support and interethnic friendships. 12 multiracial girls with one black/multiracial and one white parent took part in semi-structured interviews. The multiracial girls in this sample reported lower self-esteem and lower perceived friendship support than their monoracial peers. Multiracial girls held less positive feelings about their ethnic group (affirmation) than their BAME (black, Asian, minority ethnic) monoracial peers. Affirmation only predicted self-esteem when friendship support was included in the model. Many multiracial girls felt positively about their ethnic group, but this was not always accepted by their peers and some experienced identity invalidation and exclusion. Friends were important for validating identity and emotional support. The family emerged as important for providing cultural knowledge and identity validation. This thesis highlights the importance of friendships and the peer context in multiracial adolescent mental health and informs EP practice.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Ed.Psy
Title: A mixed methods exploration of the role of friends and identity in multiracial adolescent girls' mental health
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from this e-thesis.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055768
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