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Youngsters bridge the gap between national and ethnic identity
27 April 2012
British Psychological Society (BPS)
Young people from minority ethnic backgrounds are as proud of being Scottish or British as their white-British counterparts are, a study carried out by Dr Derek Heim of the University of Central Lancashire and Professor Christine Howe of the University of Cambridge has found.
The findings will be presented today, Monday 30 April 2012, at the British Psychological Society (BPS) Social Psychology Section's seminar on multiculturalism, in London.
A total of 271 young people living in Glasgow from Pakistani, Indian, Chinese, and white-British backgrounds were interviewed annually over a period of four years. There was an equal gender split among participants and three age groups took part - 14-15 years, 17-18 years, and 20-21 years.
Racist experiences were found to lead to deflated self-esteem, heightened anxiety and depression. However, these symptoms were reduced when individuals held a strong sense of national identity.
Dr Heim, a Chartered Psychologist, said: "It is clear from the study that multiculturalism does not prevent a real sense of national identity. While older minority ethnic people tend to feel more strongly connected to their backgrounds at the expense of feeling Scottish or British, our study shows that younger people can bridge the gap. They have far less difficulty identifying with both their ethnic backgrounds and the wider UK society. This is important because of the psychological benefits of strong national identities to well-being."
Funded by the Glasgow Anti Racist Alliance and the Scottish Government, the research also found young white people were as equally likely to report racist events as young people from minority ethnic backgrounds.
The BPS Social Psychology Section's seminar on multiculturalism also includes the following talks:
- The social psychology of intergroup relations: some implications for multiculturalism in schools - Rupert Brown and Hanna Zagefka
- Multiculturalism, Young People and 'Good' Citizenship: Challenges and Motivators - Evanthia Lyons and Dimitra Pachi
- Has multiculturalism failed? The importance of lay knowledge - Caroline Howarth