The psychological adjustment of transracial adoptees: An application of the Cultural-Racial Identity Model

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In response to the need for increased understanding of the identity process of transracial adoptees, the Cultural Racial Identity Model (A. L. Baden & R. J. Steward, 1995) was developed; however, the model has yet to be empirically validated. The model allows distinctions to be made between racial identity and cultural identity, resulting in 16 proposed identities. Identities are based on the degrees to which individuals (1) have knowledge of awareness of competence within, and comfort with their own racial group's culture, their parents' racial group's culture, and multiple cultures, and (2) are comfortable with their racial group membership and with those belonging to their own racial group, their parents' racial group, and multiple racial groups. Four dimensions of the model were determined for study. the Adoptee Culture Dimension, the Parental Culture Dimension, the Adoptee Race Dimension, and the Parental Race Dimension. In this study, the Cultural Racial Identity of transracial adoptees was assessed by a modified version of the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM, J. S. Phinney, 1992). Psychological adjustment was assessed by the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI, L. R. Derogatis & P A. Cleary, 1977). The sample consisted of 51 transracial adoptees who completed mail survey questionnaires. The exploratory findings supported the Cultural Racial Identity Model by demonstrating that the modified version of the MEIM successfully yielded variation in the potential Cultural Racial Identities that the transracial adoptees reported. Findings also did not yield support for differences in psychological adjustment among transracial adoptees having different Cultural Racial Identities. The implications that the results have for counseling practice and social policy were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-191
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Social Distress and the Homeless
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Adjustment
  • Adoption
  • Identity
  • Interracial
  • Transracial


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