Date of Award

8-2016

Degree Name

MS in Psychology

Department

Psychology & Child Development

Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti

Abstract

This study focused on the experiences of transracial adoptees in the United States, in an effort to examine the roles of cultural socialization and family influences on adoptees’ ethnic identity development. This study explored these issues through in-depth interviews with 11 adult transracial adoptees. Qualitative data analysis indicated various factors influencing participants’ ethnic identity development. Analysis compared levels of parental connection to adoptees’ birth culture, according to participants’ responses to interview questions. Analysis also compared socialization activities perceived by participants as meaningful to those that participants described as superficial or lacking in meaning. Themes included freedom of choice, opportunities for exposure to birth culture, and family support. Through quantitative analysis, a significant connection was found between parents’ level of connection with adoptees’ birth culture and the number of cultural socialization strategies they engaged in with their children. There was also a significant link between socialization activities participants viewed as meaningful and the strength of their ethnic identity development.

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