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Attitude Towards Ethnic Identity Impacts Stress Levels

A positive attitude towards one's ethnic identity can help teenagers manage stress better than those who have a negative attitude, according to a new study.//

Lisa Kiang and colleagues at the department of psychology at Wake Forest University studied 415 ninth-graders from Chinese and Mexican backgrounds. They found that the ethnic identity of the participants had an impact on their daily psychological well-being, according to a release on the university website.

Each participant was asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding their feelings about their ethnic identity.

For two weeks, the students filled out a three-page checklist at the end of each day indicating the kinds of stress they experienced that day.

For example, the students would mark whether they had a lot of schoolwork to complete or if they had a lot of demands made by their family.

They were asked to rate their daily emotional status on a scale from zero to four, including how happy or nervous they felt that day.

Those with higher ethnic regard rated their daily happiness level higher than those who had a more negative attitude towards their ethnic identity, said the study published in the October issue of the journal Child Development.

'Adolescents with a high ethnic regard maintained a generally positive and happy attitude in the face of daily stress,' said Kiang.

'So having positive feelings about one's ethnic group appeared to provide an extra boost of positivity in the individuals' daily lives,' the researcher added.


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