Being bicultural: A mixed-methods study of adolescents' implicitly and explicitly measured multiethnic identities

Being bicultural: A mixed-methods study of adolescents' implicitly and explicitly measured multiethnic identities
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  Being Bicultural: A Mixed-Methods Study of Adolescents’ Implicitly andExplicitly Measured Multiethnic Identities Amy K. Marks Suffolk University and Brown University Flannery Patton and Cynthia Garcı´a Coll Brown University Understanding how ethnic identities develop in adolescence is currently limited by a reliance onself-report paper-and-pencil measures. This mixed-methods study presents a novel response time mea-sure, the Multiethnic Identities Processing Task (MIPT), to quantify bicultural adolescents’ implicitidentifications with ethnic and racial identity labels. Eighty-four adolescents (age 14–21 years) of diverseethnic and racial backgrounds self-identified as bicultural or not bicultural and described their ethnicidentities, pride, and ethnic centrality during a brief interview. Participants were assigned to completeeither the interview (self-prime) or the MIPT (no prime) first. Results indicate that bicultural adolescentsreadily endorsed a variety of ethnic and racial labels in the MIPT, reflecting their multifaceted identities.Younger bicultural adolescents showed a large inhibited response to the label “White,” indicating somehesitation in deciding whether the label was “like me” or “not like me.” Heart rate monitoring andqualitative analyses of interviews provide some insight into this pattern of results. Findings are discussedwith respect to developmental theory, and the strengths of using both implicit and explicit measures tounderstand multiethnic identity development in adolescence. Keywords:  bicultural, ethnic identity, implicit, adolescenceInterviewer: Do you ever consider yourself to be bicultural?No, not particularly. Both my parents are Iranian. [How would youdescribe your ethnicity?] My parents have said that the technical namefor us when we, like, put it on the SAT or something is White. ButIrani is what I am. I don’t feel like I am White.—Second-generation 17-year-old boyNope. I have one culture. I never really thought about it. [How wouldyou describe your ethnicity?] We’re kind of White American.—Fourth-generation 16-year-old girlYes, because I have one culture at school and a different culture athome. [How would you describe your ethnicity?] Both my parents arefrom Haiti, so I am Haitian and African American.—Second-generation 16-year-old boyYes. My grandmother is from China, so I’m sort of mixed in with theChinese culture. I haven’t actually been to China, but we haveChinese gatherings and celebrate the Chinese New Year’s. [Howwould you describe your ethnicity?] I normally just say I’m half Chinese, half Caucasian; my mom’s Irish and Scottish. I just say I’mhalf-and-half.”—Third-generation 15-year-old girl Being bicultural, reflected here in the words of high schooladolescents in the current study, involves developing a sense of one’s cultural self (e.g., ethnic identities) as a member of morethan one cultural, ethnic and/or racial group. In decades past,scholars of biculturalism 1 proposed that being a member of morethan one cultural group and navigating their multiple social envi-ronments would largely yield personal struggle and psychologicaldistress (e.g., Park, 1928; Stonequist, 1935). According to suchthinking, being bicultural is a risk factor for poor psychologicaloutcomes, and full assimilation into the mainstream culture isoptimal for development. Today growing evidence in psycholog-ical research supports an alternative, more nuanced view of bicul-turalism (Berry, 1997; Berry, Phinney, Sam, & Vedder, 2006;LaFromboise, 1988; Nguyen & Benet-Martı´nez, 2007). For exam-ple, bicultural individuals who are able to form strong, positivemultiethnic identities have better self-esteem (Phinney, Cantu, &Kurtz, 1997), fewer mental health problems (LaFromboise,Coleman, & Gerton, 1993; Lang, Mun˜oz, Bernal, & Sorensen,1982; Smokowski & Bacallao, 2007), and higher academicachievement (Fuligni & Witkow, 2004; Fuligni, Witkow, & Gar-cia, 2005; Rumbaut, 1994) than their peers with less developed or 1 Other studies reviewed here have used the terms  bicultural  and  bicultur-alism  to indicate efficacy in navigating more than one cultural domain; in thecurrent study, these terms are used only to indicate an individual (or group of individuals) experiencing more than one cultural context, not the effectivenessof the bicultural social skills developed by the individual (or group).  Editor’s Note.  Richard M. Lerner served as the action editor for thisarticle.—CGCAmy K. Marks, Department of Psychology, Suffolk University, andDepartment of Psychology, Brown University; Flannery Patton and Cyn-thia Garcı´a Coll, Department of Psychology, Brown University.Amy K. Marks gratefully acknowledges the National Science Founda-tion for its support of this research through the Graduate Research Fellow-ship Program and would also like to thank doctoral committee membersRonald Seifer and William Heindel for their support and insight throughoutthis project. Her deepest thanks go to Christina Perkins, Heidi Wilder andSapna Doshi for their assistance with data collection and coding.Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Amy K.Marks, Department of Psychology, Suffolk University, 41 Temple Street,Boston, MA 02114. E-mail: Developmental Psychology © 2011 American Psychological Association2011, Vol. 47, No. 1, 270–288 0012-1649/11/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0020730 270  singular (monocultural) ethnic identities. In addition, not all indi-viduals with multiethnic backgrounds may perceive themselves asbicultural or multicultural. Developing ethnic and racial identities,whether with mixed ethnic and racial ancestry or across multiplecultural contexts (e.g., home and school), is a dynamic, lifelongprocess. As the United States has seen a recent, unprecedentedincrease in the number and cultural diversity of first- and second-generation immigrant children and adolescents (Hernandez, Den-ton, & Macartney, 2009), understanding how positive ethnic iden-tities are formed and maintained among bicultural andmulticultural youth is of timely importance.Though ethnic identity development is important for supportingpositive social and academic outcomes among adolescents of colorin general (Fuligni et al., 2005; Marks, Powell, & Garcı´a Coll,2009), relatively little is known about the social cognitive pro-cesses by which bicultural adolescents form and experience theirethnic identities. Moreover, the measurement of ethnic identity hasbeen based mainly on self-report paper-and-pencil measures. Arecent rise in research regarding implicit social cognition offerspromising new insights and measurement techniques for under-standing aspects of self-information and self-identification thatoperate outside conscious awareness (for a review, see Devos &Banaji, 2003). Such techniques may offer advances in understand-ing individuals’ ethnic identity development, as they are lessinfluenced by socially desirable responding than are explicit mea-sures, and are linked to self-information built on past experiences(e.g., cultural socialization) that may be only partially available tothe individual through controlled introspection (Greenwald & Ba-naji, 1995). Contemporary views of ethnic identity developmentemphasize the importance of experiences with identity develop-ment, particularly among immigrant and bicultural youth (Phinney& Ong, 2007). Therefore, these implicit cognitive aspects of iden-tity must also be studied with respect to the affective experiencesassociated with the labels used to identify one’s ethnicity. Further-more, it is reasoned in the current study that capturing implicitaspects of bicultural ethnic identities may also inform develop-mental theoretical frameworks of ethnic identity development inadolescence. The current study presents a novel social cognitivetask, the Multiethnic Identities Processing Task (MIPT), alongsidephysiological monitoring and qualitative analysis of interviewaccounts of ethnic identification and identities, to begin to under-stand the associations among implicit and explicit aspects of developing ethnic identities among bicultural adolescents. Ethnic Identity Development and Implicit SocialCognition Stemming from a foundation in social identity theory (Tajfel &Turner, 1986), ethnic identities are typically conceptualized ashaving both social category and affective components (Bernal,Knight, Garza, Ocampo, & Cota, 1990; Phinney, 1989, 1993;Phinney & Ong, 2007). For example, a person developing anethnic identity usually identifies with an ethnic group (e.g., His-panic) and experiences affective associations with that categorymembership (e.g., pride in being Hispanic) built on the qualities of past experiences as an ethnic group member. Research with bicul-tural populations has shown that these affective associations withethnicity are dynamic and context dependent (L. Allen, Bat-Chava,Aber, & Seidman, 2005; Kiang & Fuligni, 2009; Pittinsky, Shih, &Ambady, 1999), and are built largely on past cultural socializationexperiences within both the family and other community socialsettings (Portes & Rumbaut, 2001; Rumbaut & Portes, 2001;Sua´rez-Orozco & Sua´rez-Orozco, 2001). Among bicultural chil-dren and adolescents, ethnic identities themselves are multifac-eted, often involving group memberships and affective associ-ations with multiple racial, ethnic, and panethnic social groups(Akiba, Szalacha, & Garcı´a Coll, 2004; Chen, Benet-Martı´nez,& Bond, 2008; Cooper, Jackson, Azmitia, & Lopez, 1998;Marks, Szalacha, Lamarre, Boyd, & Garcı´a Coll, 2007; Phinney& Devich-Navarro, 1997; Rumbaut & Portes, 2001; Trueba,2002).With particular regard to bicultural adolescents, Phinney,Horenczyk, Liebkind, and Vedder (2001) have proposed an inter-actional framework to understand ethnic identities among adoles-cent immigrants. According to this model, based in part on Berry’s(1997) bidirectional model of acculturation, individuals can expe-rience independent feelings about their (or their family’s) cultureof origin and a second culture. Applied to ethnic identity, theinteractional framework posits that adolescents may have indepen-dent feelings regarding their ethnic (i.e., family ethnicity) andnational (i.e., American) identities, and that it is the variation andassociation between these two identities that will differ betweenand within ethnic groups. Extended to the study of biculturalism,ethnic identities may therefore reflect both the positive and nega-tive aspects of past experiences identifying with more than oneethnic and racial group. To adequately measure bicultural ethnicidentities therefore requires a measurement approach that allowsan individual to identify independently with more than one ethnicand/or racial group.Until recently, one’s understanding of ethnic identity devel-opment among bicultural youth (and adolescents in general) hasrelied on paper-and-pencil self-report measures that targetstrength of identification with an ethnic group, pride in thegroup, the centrality of ethnic identities relative to other self-identities, and the amount of exploration experienced in devel-oping an ethnic identity (e.g., Phinney, 1992). For example,Rumbaut (1994) has used self-report social category labelingmethods in studying immigrant ethnic identities among adoles-cents, particularly as identity relates to acculturation and psy-chosocial outcomes. In his work, immigrant adolescents aremore likely to identify with multiple and hyphenated labels if their families are more acculturated to the United States, often-times (but not necessarily) a reflection of biculturalism. Suchpast research has yielded important information about howethnic identities are formed, starting with use of labels, grouppride, and exploration in middle childhood among children of immigrants (Marks et al., 2007), through exploration and in-creased centrality of ethnic identity in adolescence (French,Seidman, Allen, & Aber, 2006; Phinney, 1990; Sellers,Chavous, & Cooke, 1998). Centrality of ethnic identity—therelative importance of ethnicity compared with other aspects of identity (e.g., gender, family role)—has been shown to beparticularly strong among bicultural, racial minority and immi-grant youth (Phinney, 1989, 1990; Phinney & Devich-Navarro,1997; Phinney et al., 2001). However, relying solely on self-reported ethnic identity characteristics, one’s understanding of ethnic identity development is based entirely on explicit (e.g.,survey-based, conscious awareness) measures of identification 271 MULTIETHNIC IDENTITIES PROCESSING TASK  that are subject to context influences and socially desirableresponding, introducing error into one’s measurement.Recent advances in implicit measurements (e.g., responsetime, unconscious) of social cognition provide new tools forunderstanding the underlying attitudes people hold regardingothers and themselves. Such methods provide an opportunity tocapture associations among self-concepts (e.g., “me” and“American”) and attitudes (e.g., “bad” and “American”) thatindividuals may be unable or unwilling to report. Understand-ing these implicit associations is important, as one’s implicitattitudes and associations are activated when one is stressed orthreatened, oftentimes predict future spontaneous behavior bet-ter than explicit attitudes, and are largely influenced by pastexperiences (Bargh & Ferguson, 2000; Karpinski & Hilton,2001; Rudman, 2004). Implicit associations, therefore, are un-conscious records of individuals’ past thoughts and attitudes;the stronger (faster) the implicit association, the more thatassociation has been built through past experience.From a developmental perspective, capturing the strength of association between an individual’s sense of self and a groupidentity (e.g., ethnic label) through implicit response time tasksmay also provide a window into the stage of identity formation(Phinney, 1989). Phinney (1989) has proposed a three-stagesequence for explaining ethnic identity development amongminority adolescents. According to this model, the initial stage, diffusion , is characterized by a lack of exploration of ethnicidentity, in which feelings about one’s ethnicity may be eitherpositive or negative. The second stage,  moratorium , involvesactive exploration of identity, but is accompanied by confusionabout the meaning and valence of ethnic group memberships.The final stage,  achieved  , shows continued exploration alongwith a clear understanding and acceptance (or straightforwardrejection) of the adolescent’s ethnic identification. Therefore, if an adolescent’s ethnic identity is in the primary, diffusion stageof development, one might expect a relatively slower implicitassociation (or response time) pairing “like me” with a grouplabel such as “Asian,” reflecting less experience thinking aboutand experiencing that ethnic group membership. Further, onewould expect that younger adolescents might be less reliable intheir ethnic identifications (e.g., self-labeling) across implicitand explicit assessments, as evidence of relatively little ethnicidentity exploration or identity achievement. Adolescents in amore achieved state of ethnic identification, on the other hand,might experience a relatively faster implicit association with thegroup ethnic label (and show greater correspondence betweenimplicit and explicit identifications), reflecting a greateramount of commitment to and exploration of that ethnic groupmembership. Following Phinney’s developmental model, in thecurrent study we expected that younger bicultural adolescentswould typically experience the former early stage response timepattern, whereas older bicultural adolescents would typicallyexperience the latter achieved-stage response time pattern. Thisdevelopmental reasoning fits within a burgeoning perspectiveof implicit social cognition researchers recognizing the influ-ences of early experiences in forming implicit attitudes (Dun-ham, Baron, & Banaji, 2008; Greenwald & Banaji, 1995; Rud-man, 2004). The MIPT: A Novel Measure of Implicit EthnicIdentification The application of an implicit social cognitive approach tounderstanding biculturalism is new; to our knowledge, only onerecent report exists demonstrating that ethnic identification amongbicultural college students may be measured implicitly (Devos,2006). This study is similar to the current report in that it builds onthe notion that bicultural individuals possess multiple cognitivenetworks of cultural frames of reference, which can be activatedthrough priming techniques (Benet-Martı´nez, Leu, Lee, & Morris,2002; Hong, Morris, Chiu, & Benet-Martı´nez, 2000; Ng & Lai,2009). Devos’s (2006) study of implicit ethnic identification madeuse of the Implicit Association Test (IAT), in which culturalframes of references (e.g., American vs. Mexican and Americanvs. Asian) could be contrasted within bicultural individuals. Bymeasuring relative response times to pairing the word  me  (vs. them ) with cultural words and pictures relating to Mexican (orAsian) culture and American culture, Devos found that bicultural 2 (both Mexican and Asian American) college students identifiedimplicitly with both ethnic and American cultural stimuli. That is,bicultural participants responded equally fast to pairing  me  (vs. them ) with each set of cultural stimuli, reflecting a similarity instrength of self-association with both their family ethnic andAmerican cultural backgrounds.Devos’s (2006) report presented an important first step in cap-turing bicultural ethnic identification implicitly. Building on thisbasis and the similarly employed methodological and conceptualframeworks of other self-related implicit cognitive researchthrough the IAT (Greenwald et al., 2002; Greenwald & Farnham,2000; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998), a novel responsetime task was developed in the current study to measure implicitethnic identification among two cohorts of diverse bicultural ad-olescents. This measure, the MIPT, is used to capture adolescents’response time identifications with ethnic and racial identity labels.The MIPT uses a complementary implicit cognitive measurementapproach, capturing an individuals’ self-association with a word(e.g.,  Asian ) independently for each word presented. In the MIPT,a participant is presented with three sorting tasks: Grammar (nounvs. adjective), Affect (“good” vs. “bad”), and Identity (“like me”vs. “not like me”). In each sorting task, 50 words are presented inrandom order, which the participant is asked to pair with theappropriate response category as quickly as possible. Embedded inthe list of words are seven target words (ethnic–racial labels):  American ,  Asian ,  Arab ,  Black  ,  European ,  Hispanic , and  White .This measure differs both methodologically and theoretically fromthe IAT, in which concepts are contrasted to one another. Forexample, in Devos’s IAT, bicultural individuals made a forcedchoice between pairing  me  or  them  with either  Mexican  or  Amer-ican  (or another cultural group). Although this forced comparisonwas presented as a strength for contrasting two salient identitieswithin bicultural individuals (Devos, 2006), the MIPT was de-signed specifically for a multicultural sample to allow individualsto identify (or not identify) themselves with two or more salientethnic or racial categories. Just as ingroup and outgroup research 2 Bicultural status determined by research team was based on member-ship in ethnic group. 272  MARKS, PATTON, AND GARCI´A COLL  has been criticized for inflated estimates of prejudice found byforcing participants to make a social preference between twosalient social groups (i.e., not allowing the participant to preferboth equally; see review by Cameron, Alvarez, Ruble, & Fuligni,2001), the MIPT was designed to allow independent judgments(“good” vs. “bad” and “like me” vs. “not like me”) for multipleethnic–racial group labels. Using this approach in line with Phin-ney’s (1989) theoretical model, we expected to observe a greaternumber of labels endorsed by bicultural adolescents as “like me”than not-bicultural adolescents, particularly among the older co-hort for whom ethnic identities are more formed.The current study also employs a self-priming experimentalcondition to further understand the role that past experiences mayhave in shaping ethnic identities and attitudes (for a review of suchtechniques, see Fazio & Olson, 2003). Using a supportive self-priming interview, a style of interview shown in past research toelicit the saliency of ethnic identity self-knowledge (Karcher &Fischer, 2004), we expected that adolescents self-primed to recallinformation regarding their ethnic identities and family culturalpractices would demonstrate relatively faster response times toself-descriptive labels in the MIPT than adolescents who were notself-primed. Importantly, we believed this “facilitated” (or rela-tively faster) responding in the MIPT would occur only for ado-lescents who report more positive ethnic identities (e.g., higherethnic pride, greater centrality, and low physiological arousal).Other research has clearly shown that priming facilitates respond-ing in evaluative judgments but only when those judgments arecongruous with the valence of the prime (Fazio & Olson, 2003). Inother words, if an adolescent described his or her ethnic identitiesas having low centrality and/or group pride, we would expect thatparticipant to exhibit a relatively slower response time (or “inhib-ited” response) to pair the label with “like me” (or “not like me”)during the MIPT. Further, drawing from our developmental per-spective, we anticipated that this priming effect would yield morevariable relative response times among the younger adolescents,for whom ethnic identities are less formed. Affective Regulation, Experiences of Ethnic IdentityDevelopment, and the MIPT To extend our understanding of the correspondence betweenimplicitly and explicitly measured bicultural ethnic identities, thecurrent study also makes use of two indirect methods for under-standing qualitative aspects of bicultural adolescents’ representa-tions of their ethnic identities: (a) heart rate monitoring, a measureof parasympathetic activity (stress response) during an ethnicidentities interview, and (b) qualitative analyses of ethnic identityinterview responses. Affective regulation, sometimes referred to asself-regulation, is an effortful process by which individuals selectand pursue goals, oftentimes to modify perceptions of themselvesand others. Affective regulation often occurs when individuals arestressed, attempting to regulate negative affect or exert sociallydesirable self-control (e.g., Muraven & Baumeister, 2000). Inadolescence, the development of positive affective regulation skills(e.g., low distress, low anxiety behaviors) is associated not onlywith prosocial decision making but also with healthy relationshipsand optimal long-term health outcomes (Dahl, 2001; Lerner,Freund, Stefanis, & Habermas, 2001; Mikulincer, Shaver, &Pereg, 2003). Among bicultural individuals, preliminary researchsuggests that affective regulation plays an important role in emo-tionally managing multiple cultural contexts (Eng, Kuiken,Temme, & Sharma, 2005). Other research has shown that positiveethnic identity attitudes (e.g., greater ethnic identity achievement)are associated with positive psychological adjustment and copingstrategies (Zaff, Blount, Phillips, & Cohen, 2002). However, to ourknowledge there is no research to date specifically examiningaffective regulation qualities with respect to developing ethnicidentities among bicultural adolescents.The current study aims to advance researchers understanding of ethnic identity development using physiological monitoring tocapture heart rate associations with (a) characteristics of responsesabout ethnic identities given during the interviews and (b) implicit-measured inhibited responses to ethnic identity labels in the MIPT.To do this, we drew from related research in adolescence linkingattachment theory to self-regulation patterns (Kobak & Sceery,1988; Mikulincer et al., 2003) as well as physiological researchused to appreciate inhibited response times in social evaluationtasks. Kobak and Sceery (1988) found that three types of repre-sentations of childhood experiences (e.g., the quality of responsesgiven about childhood relationships during interviews) were linkedto affective regulation patterns among adolescents. In their study,adolescents with “secure” representations of attachment were lesshostile, were less anxious, exhibited low levels of distress, andwere more ego-resilient than their peers of “insecure” attachmentstyles. These secure representations were characterized by easilyrecalled memories with largely positive details. Further, negativedetails were discussed openly and integrated into the larger contextof the childhood experiences. Among adolescents who exhibited“dismissive” representations of attachment, a type of insecurerepresentation, affective regulation patterns were more hostile,with greater loneliness and low ego-resilience. These dismissiverepresentations were characterized by an avoidant interview stylein which the adolescent devalued the importance of relationshipsand had difficulty recalling specific details. Finally, adolescentswith “preoccupied” attachment representations, another type of insecure representation, reported high levels of personal distressand exhibited low ego-resilience and high anxiety. These preoc-cupied adolescents could recall details of childhood relationshipsbut were confused as to their meaning, and expressed difficulty inmaking sense of negative aspects of relationships. These associa-tions between attachment self-representation styles and affectiveregulation characteristics have been replicated elsewhere (J. P.Allen, Moore, Kuperminc, & Bell, 1998). In our research, weanticipated that bicultural adolescents who represent their ethnicidentities in a secure manner during the interview would also showlow-stress affective regulation responses to the interview (i.e., lowheart rate increase). However, for bicultural adolescents represent-ing their ethnic identities using more insecure, anxious self-presentation behaviors and responses, we anticipated a larger dis-tress response (greater heart rate increase) during the interview. Summary of Current Study This mixed-methods study has several aims: (a) to test thesensitivity of a new implicit measure of ethnic identificationamong bicultural adolescents, the MIPT; (b) to assess the effects of a self-priming condition to manipulate the saliency of implicitethnic identities, as indicated by relative response times to ethnic– 273 MULTIETHNIC IDENTITIES PROCESSING TASK  racial identity labels; and (c) to use the MIPT to inform develop-mental ethnic identity theory for bicultural adolescents. We alsoincluded physiological monitoring and interview data to furthercapture the affective experiences associated with bicultural ado-lescents’ ethnic identities. To examine those aspects of ethnicidentification among bicultural adolescents that may be commonamong youth of various ethnic and racial identities, we includedadolescents from numerous ethnic heritages. Importantly, weasked adolescents whether they ever considered themselves to bebicultural, which served as our main grouping variable for thestudy. We reasoned that in order to validly manipulate (i.e., self-prime) someone with bicultural or multiethnic identities, that in-dividual must consider him- or herself a member of multiplecultural groups. In keeping with past research of bicultural ado-lescents, the vast majority of our bicultural sample was either 1.5-or second-generation immigrant youth. Therefore, adolescentswho self-identified as being bicultural, regardless of ethnic orracial identification, were included in our target bicultural group.To test the specificity of our findings regarding ethnic identitiesamong bicultural adolescents, we included a control group of self-identified not-bicultural adolescents (also from varied ethnic–racial backgrounds, third-generation-plus).In sum, on the basis of the theoretical perspectives and empiricalresearch reviewed above, we expected the following:  Hypothesis 1:  In the MIPT, bicultural adolescents will en-dorse a greater variety of labels as “like me” than not-bicultural adolescents, particularly among older adolescents.  Hypothesis 2:  Younger adolescents will endorse fewer ethniclabels (and respond with less facilitation) than older adolescents,reflecting their earlier stage of ethnic identity development.  Hypothesis 3:  Adolescents with greater ethnic pride and cen-trality (positive valence explicit identities) may have rela-tively faster response times (facilitation) to ethnicity labels inthe Identity Sort. Adolescents with lower ethnic pride andcentrality (negative valence explicit identities) may have rel-atively slower response times (inhibition).  Hypothesis 4:  Bicultural adolescents who represent their eth-nic identities in a secure manner during the interview willshow low-stress affective regulation responses to the inter-view (i.e., low heart rate increase). However, bicultural ado-lescents representing their ethnic identities using more inse-cure, anxious self-presentation behaviors and responses willshow a larger stress response (greater heart rate increase)during the interview. MethodParticipants Two cohorts of adolescents participated in the study: 41 lateadolescents from a New England college (older cohort) and 43middle adolescents from an independent high school (youngercohort). The younger cohort ranged in age from 14 to 17 years(  15.8,  SD  1.2), and the older cohort ranged in age from 18to 21 years (    19.8,  SD    1.0). Though overall there was ahigher proportion of female than male participants in the finalsample (62% vs. 38%), there were no significant gender differ-ences across cohorts, and cohorts were similar by immigrantgeneration, bicultural identification, and racial minority status.Given the emphasis of this study on developing a language-basedcomputer task, speaking and reading English proficiently was aninclusion criterion for the study. No participants were excludedbased on this criterion. English proficiency was determined byparticipants’ self-report prior to study enrollment. Twenty-sevenpercent of the sample ( n    23) reported speaking a primarylanguage other than English at home. All participants had receivedmonolingual instruction in school in English for at least 4 years atthe time of study enrollment. Spanish forms of the written mea-sures were made available to participants, but all participants choseto complete forms in English.Collegeparticipantswererecruitedfromundergraduatepsychologycourses and posted flyers, and high school students were recruited atschool assemblies and via flyers and campuswide e-mail. Because thecollege campus has a culturally diverse student body, no recruitingmethods other than posting flyers were followed to balance thesample between bicultural and not-bicultural participants. For theyounger cohort, however, a high school student volunteered to helprecruitpotentialbiculturalparticipantsfromschooldiversityclubsandclasses by handing out flyers and providing an e-mail sign-up sheetfor interested students after classes.College participants were compensated with partial psychologycourse credit; high school participants were given a $10 giftcertificate to local food establishments for their participation. Carewas taken not to involve any teachers or school staff in therecruitment of high school students, to avoid any potential forcoercion or breach of participant confidentiality. The two schoolsites were located in the same city neighborhood and were selectedfor their comparable characteristics in terms of students’ familydemographics as well as similarity in neighborhood environment. Procedure Subjects were asked to participate in a single-session, two-part study examining students’ cognitive skills in word sortingand, in a brief interview, students’ cultural background andphilosophies about education. As part of the experimental studydesign, participants were randomly assigned to receive eitherthe interview (self-prime condition) or the cognitive task (noprime condition) first. Participants provided informed consentbefore beginning the study; if participants were under the age of 18, written parental consent was also obtained prior to studyparticipation.The study took place in a private office at each school’s locationduring school hours. Participants completed the cognitive task at adesktop computer (the same computer was used throughout the study)while alone in the study room. The interview then took place in thesame room and was conducted by one of two trained research staff members. Interviews were audiotaped and later transcribed verbatimby the interviewers. Upon completion of the cognitive task andinterview, the participant was invited to complete a few short ques-tionnaires to provide explicit measures of behavioral traits and healthinformation as well as bicultural attitudes. 274  MARKS, PATTON, AND GARCI´A COLL
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