Seeing African American women: the structure of psychosocial identity



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Texas Tech University


The development and structure of identity is complicated. Much of the theoretical and research literature focuses on select groups (ie,. White middle class) and the diversity and complexity of the development and structure of identity is lost. The current study addresses this issue by focusing upon a community sample of low income African American women. Findings from the current study emphasize the importance of including diverse samples and the use of qualitative methods for increasing our understanding of identity. While there is a great deal of continuity between theory and the identities of informants, there is also a great deal of discontinuity. While these women evidence a desire for traditional marriage and family values as well as occupational success, which theory would predict for young adulthood, their special circumstances provide obstacles that require further investigation if identity development is to be fully understood.