Development of Ethnic Identity in Young Adults from Immigrant Families: “I Want to Hold Onto My Roots, but I Also Want to Experience New Routes”

Olena Nesteruk, Nicole Marie Helmstetter, Alexandra Gramescu, Mona Hammad Siyam, Christine A. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


This article explores ethnic identity development among young adults from immigrant families from diverse countries of origin. Based on in-depth interviews with young women and men, the authors examined the formation of ethnic identity through childhood, adolescence, and into young adulthood. Analysis of the participants’ narratives revealed that, compared with fluent bilinguals, limited bilinguals reported weaker connections to their heritage culture. Most participants progressed through the model of ethnic identity formation, which was influenced by their family socialization and community context, and reported integrated or bicultural ethnic identities. Practitioners may use the experiences shared by our participants to inform their work with second-generation immigrant youth in varying stages of ethnic identity development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-487
Number of pages22
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2015



  • bicultural
  • ethnic identity
  • immigrant
  • second generation

Cite this