Identity and Adaptation

Published 2008. Contact: Colleen Ward


Although “identity conflict” in immigrants and members of ethnic minorities has been discussed in the acculturation literature, there is no established measure to assess this conflict. This research involved the construction and validation of a measure of ethno-cultural identity conflict.


The research included 304 participants (187 first generation immigrants, 51 NZ-born members of ethnic minority groups and 66 international students) who completed an anonymous survey. The survey contained 45 items tapping ethnocultural identity conflict and measures of identity distress, sense of coherence, self concept clarity, and psychological and sociocultural adaptation.


The 45 items were refined to a 20-item measure of identity conflict. Ethno-cultural Identity Conflict was related to lower self-concept clarity, lower sense of coherence and greater identity distress. This pattern of relationships supported the construct validity of the new measure.

In addition, those with greater identity conflict reported poorer socio-cultural and psychological adaptation.

Read the research "The construction and validation of a measure of ethno-cultural identity conflict" in the Journal of Personality Assessment here

Read the research "The predictors of ethno-cultural identity conflict among South Asian immigrant youth in New Zealand" in Applied Developmental Science here