Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The present study used grounded theory qualitative methodology to explore mixed race individuals' experiences within specific racial socialization contexts of family, friends, community, and society, to identify messages received within these contexts. How messages influence both their understandings of mixed race identity and how they racially identify themselves was also examined. Mixed race identity development was found to follow an ecological framework, in which racial socialization messages serve as a mechanism through which experiences within contexts may be interpreted, to then inform conceptions of racial identity and identification choices. Common themes of experiences emerged within contexts, including disownments/disapproval, sibling differences, race dialogues, seeking diversity and racial awareness, community racial dynamics, `What are you?' questions, racial categorization, normativity, attractiveness, and the President Obama effect. Additionally, general message themes of belonging, racial physical features, racial teasing, and racism, emerged across these contexts. Messages influenced understandings of mixed race identity through the cultural consciousness, racial discourse, pride, and awareness of mixed race privilege. While personal racial identifications varied, messages influenced conscious decisions in identifying to others as mixed, rather than choose one race over the other.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Psychology Commons