The relationship between multiracial identity variance, social connectedness, facilitative support, and adjustment in multiracial college students
Lyda, James L., 1979-
Research has suggested that multiracial individuals may vary in how they racially identify depending on the context in which they operate (Renn, 2004; Root, 1998, 2003). To examine this assertion, multiracial identity and variance in multiracial identity were examined in this exploratory study of a nationally representative sample of 199 multiracial college students. Additionally, the relationship of multiracial identity variance with factors common to adult transitional development and to the college student experience, including social connectedness, various forms of facilitative support, college adjustment, and depression, were also examined in this study. Sex differences among these study variables were also explored. The results of descriptive analyses revealed that this generally connected, adjusted, and non-depressed sample consistently varied their racial identity depending on their context. Results of Pearson product-moment correlations among study variables for the whole sample demonstrated that this multiracial identity variance was not related to adjustment, social connectedness, facilitative supports, or depression. But results differed when breaking down the sample by sex. For males, increased variance in multiracial identity across contexts was related to lower perceived availability of, support from, and connectedness to student support groups. For females, increased multiracial identity variance was related to lower participation in ethnic and cultural student support groups. A series of subsequent simultaneous multiple regression analyses revealed that increased involvement in one form of facilitative support in the college environment-ethnic/cultural student support groups- actually predicted lower multiracial identity variance for the sample. Regarding connectedness, for the entire sample, higher social connectedness was related to higher college adjustment but lower participation in ethnic and cultural student support groups. Sex differences also emerged for connectedness. For males, social connectedness was directly related to availability of student groups, adjustment, and institutional attachment, and for females social connectedness was directly related to college adjustment, but inversely related to participation in ethnic/cultural groups. Findings of this study are consistent with multiracial identity theory, social connectedness theory, and with research related to college student and adult transitional development, and confirm that multiracial individuals vary their identity based on social context. Implications for future research and intervention are discussed.