Theses Doctoral

Re-thinking Race Among Adolescents in a Multiracial Generation: An Emerging Research and Public Health Approach to Identity and Health

Grilo, Stephanie Ann

There is a growing group of adolescents and young adults in the United States who identify as multiracial. An emerging literature has begun to research multiracial identification and health and behavioral outcomes for multiracial populations in comparison to their single-race counterparts. Understanding the intersectional influences on this identification process is critical to updating the literature on racial and ethnic identity and health with more accurate identifications and categories. This dissertation consists of three chapters, each of which investigates the topic of multiracial identification more closely. The first chapter reviews and synthesizes the research examining influences on multiracial identification and health outcomes and creates an empirically testable conceptual framework that guides the work of this dissertation. The second chapter uses a nationally representative sample to explore parent and child racial and ethnic identification as well as psychosocial outcomes and peer treatment among multiracial adolescents. Finally, the third chapter applies learnings from the first two chapters and uses a nationally representative public health dataset to update the empirical data on risk engagement for multiracial and single-race adolescents and young adults. Findings from these papers demonstrate that when compared to single-race peers, multiracial adolescents and young adults are not at increased risk for depressive symptoms, being involved with risky peer groups, or engaging in risk behaviors such as tobacco use, or alcohol use. This dissertation emphasizes the importance of integrating public health research with historical and demographic context. It also argues for approaching data analysis with theory and conceptual reasoning so as to most accurately update public health research using categories that more closely correlate with how individuals self-identify.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociomedical Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Hernandez, Diana
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 25, 2019