One of the primary tasks during adolescence is the self-conscious search for and development of one’s identity (Marcia, 1980; Waterman, 1985). According to Waterman (1985), identity must be viewed as both a process and an outcome and ‘refers to having a clearly delineated self-definition, a self-definition comprised of those goals, values, and beliefs that the person finds personally expressive, and to which he or she is unequivocally committed’ (1985, p. 6). Waterman suggests that this development and subsequent commitment occurs in a variety of domains, including, but not limited to, the areas of career selection, political ideology, worldview, and the adoption of social and sex roles. Failure to establish identity commitments in these domains has particular psychological and social concomitants that can lead to role confusion, commitments to negative or dysfunctional roles, or both. One’s identity and the attendant self-evaluation of that identity are most salient in the domains the individual considers to be most important (Waterman, 1985). Because race and ethnicity within Britain and US can have such a profound effect on personality development and psychological growth throughout the life span (Simpson and Yinger, 1985), the successful negotiation of one’s racial or ethnic identity is crucial to the development of a functional self-concept and positive self-evaluations for black adolescents/ethnic minority youth (Cross, 1985; Phinney and Rotheram, 1987; Spencer, 1988).
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