The Evolution of Cultural Identity Models: From “Racial Identity” and “Ethnic Identity” to “Ethnic-Racial Identity”

Identity is a central concern of adolescence and much of the early literature on identity focused on personal or ego identity. The 1980s and 1990s resulted in a heightened focus on identity as a cultural construct, reflected in the development of several Black racial identity models: the original nigrescence model (Cross, 1971), the Africentric personality (Baldwin, 1981), and the multidimensional model of racial identity (MMRI; Sellers et al., 1998), each of which were associated with a racial identity measure. Inspired in part by nigrescence theory, several developmental psychologists developed models (Phinney, 1992; Umaña-Taylor et al., 2004) to assess ethnic identity across multiple ethnic and racial groups. Both of these models, and their accompanying scales are status-based models focused on the processes of exploration and commitment. In 2014, the Ethnic and Racial Identity in the 21st Century Working Group, convened by the Society for Research and Child Development, contended that (a) the distinction between ethnic identity and racial identity may be “outdated,” (b) researchers studying these variables are actually measuring the mega-construct of ethnic-racial identity (ERI). Indeed, the expanded nigrescence model(NT-E; Cross & Vandiver, 2001) and the MMRI, both of which are attitudinal models, are now used with multiple ethnic-racial groups. In this presentation, Professor Worrell will review the ethnic and racial identity theories and measurement instruments, comment on the developmental versus attitudinal conceptualizations of these constructs, and discuss findings from a new measure—the Cross Ethnic-Racial Identity Scale (CERIS)—which represents an attitudinal operationalization of ERI, with a specific focus on adolescent functioning.

Frank C. Worrell, PhD, Presenter
Distinguished Professor

Berkeley School of Education
University of California, Berkeley
[email protected]

About: Frank C. Worrell received a BA and a Masters in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario and a Ph.D. in School and Educational Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, he is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, where he serves as Faculty Director of the School Psychology program, the Academic Talent Development Program, and the California College Preparatory Academy. He also holds an affiliate appointment in the Social and Personality Area in the Department of Psychology. His areas of expertise include academic talent development/gifted education, at-risk youth, cultural identities, scale development and validation, teaching effectiveness, time perspective, and the translation of psychological research findings into school-based practice. In his research, he examines the role of psychosocial constructs as risk and protective factors in relation to students’ educational and psychological functioning.

A member of the editorial boards of several journals, Dr. Worrell was Co-Editor/Editor of Review of Educational Research from 2012–2016 and has served on committees of the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Educational Research Association, the National Academy of Education, the National Association for Gifted Children, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the Society for the Study of School Psychology. He served as a Council Representative for the School Psychology Division of APA (Division 16) from 2010–2015, and a Member at Large on the APA Board of Directors (2016–2018). Dr. Worrell was the 2022 President of the American Psychological Association (APA). More information on him can be found on the Master's in Psychology podcast website(link is external) and the clinical conversations series hosted by Daniel T. Bourne(link is external).

Dr. Worrell is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, six divisions of APA (5, 15, 16, 44, 45, & 52), and the Association for Psychological Science, as well as an elected member of the National Academy of Education and the Society for the Study of School Psychology.

In 2011, Dr. Worrell received the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence and Equity from UC Berkeley and was also a recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Association for Gifted Children in 2013. He was a recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Contributions to Research Award from the Division 45 of APA (the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race) and the 2018 Outstanding International Psychologist Award from Division 52 (International Psychology) of APA. Dr. Worrell was the 2019 recipient of the Palmarium Award for Gifted Education from the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. He was a Distinguished Lecturer at the annual conference of the National Association of School Psychologists in 2022 and received the Outstanding Contibution to School Psychology Award from the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs (CDSPP) in 2023. In June of 2023, Dr. Worrell received an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg University, and he received the Marsilius Medal from the Marsilius College at Heidelberg University in January of 2024.

Author of more than 300 articles and book chapters , book publications include Achieving College Dreams: How a University-Charter District Partnership Created an Early College High-School, Talent Development as a Framework for Gifted Education: Implications for Best Practices and Applications in Schools (winner of the 2019 National Association for Gifted Children [NAGC] Scholar Book of the Year Award), The Psychology of High Performance: Developing Human Potential into Domain-Specific Talent (winner of the 2020 NAGC Scholar Book of the Year Award), and the Cambridge Handbook of Applied School Psychology (Cambridge University Press, 2020; co-edited with Tammy L Hughes and Dante D. Dixson). Motivation Myth Busters: Science-Based Strategies to Boost Motivation in Yourself and Others (co-authored with Wendy S. Grolnick and Bejanamin C. Heddy) is forthcoming in July of 2024. Dr. Worrell has research collaborations in China, Ethiopia, Germany, Iran, Italy, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, Slovenia, Turkey, Uruguay, and the United Kingdom.