What is it about?

The ability to connect positively with, and take pride in, one’s ethnic-racial and cultural identity is an important developmental challenge for multicultural and ethnic-racial minority youth living in the United States. This paper examines if embracing one’s cultural heritage promotes positive social-emotional and psychological development during adolescence in a sample of Latinx youth of Mexican origin. We demonstrate that having more ethnic pride and stronger connection to traditional cultural values significantly improved psychological well-being for Mexican-origin youth across ages 14 to 16.

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Why is it important?

This research demonstrates that Latinx adolescents who take pride in their ethnic identity and view their cultural heritage as a strength may experience improved psychosocial health during mid-adolescence. By delving into positive aspects of ethnic identity development in Mexican-origin youth, a historically marginalized and underrepresented sample, this study highlights key sociocultural factors promoting good mental health during adolescence. With this knowledge, parents, teachers, and community leaders can have a significant, positive impact on adolescents’ psychological well-being by empowering youth to explore their sense of self in relation to their ethnicity and encouraging them to recognize the cultural wealth inherent in their community.


Writing this paper was an invaluable learning experience that expanded my cultural sensitivity and understanding of diverse representations of adolescent flourishing. I hope this article inspires readers to consider possible sociocultural factors influencing their mental health and embrace their ethnic-racial and cultural identity as a core inner strength. I am deeply grateful to the Mexican-origin youth and families for sharing their life experiences through the California Research Project (CFP). Their contribution to this research and other CFP studies will critically inform developmental science, social policy, and community programming efforts to better understand, improve, and support the well-being of children, youth, and families coming from historically marginalized backgrounds.

Lisa Johnson
University of California Davis

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Ethnic pride and cultural values promote positive youth development in a conceptual replication of the Five Cs model., Developmental Psychology, July 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/dev0001570.
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