Multiple Pathways to Identification: Exploring the Multidimensionality of Academic Identity Formation in Ethnic Minority Males

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Empirical trends denote the academic underachievement of ethnic minority males across various academic domains. Identity-based explanations for this persistent phenomenon describe ethnic minority males as disidentified with academics, alienated, and oppositional. The present work interrogates these theoretical explanations and empirically substantiates a multidimensional lens for discussing academic identity formation within 330 African American and Latino early-adolescent males. Both hierarchical and iterative person-centered methods were utilized and reveal 5 distinct profiles derived from 6 dimensions of academic identity. These profiles predict self-reported classroom grades, mastery orientation, and self-handicapping in meaningful and varied ways. The results demonstrate multiple pathways to motivation and achievement, challenging previous oversimplified stereotypes of marginalized males. This exploratory study triangulates unique interpersonal and intrapersonal attributes for promoting healthy identity development and academic achievement among ethnic minority adolescent males.



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