An Investigation of the Effects of Ethnic Identity on Well-Being of Monoethnic and Multiethnic Children and Adolescents in Malaysia
Adolescence is the transition period from childhood into adulthood. During this period, self identity and ethnic identity become more salient. In recent years, intermarriage between different ethnicities has increased and is becoming increasingly common in Malaysia. This current study aims to investigate the relationships of ethnic identity to well-being of children and adolescents in Malaysia who are from monoethnic and multiethnic backgrounds. This study will also look at the implications ethnic identity and ethnic status (monoethnic or multiethnic) have on self-esteem, perceived discrimination, life satisfaction, bullying and antisocial behaviour. There were 261 participants from Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, Malaysia; 106 males, 152 females and 4 did not state their gender. Age ranged from 10 to 16 years old. 178 participants were monoethnic and 83 participants were multiethnic. Children and adolescents showed no differences on ethnic identity when compared by ethnic group and by ethnic state. This study also found positive correlations between ethnic identity and self esteem, self esteem and life satisfaction and perceived discrimination and antisocial behaviour. There were significant negative correlations between perceived discrimination and self esteem, antisocial behaviour and self esteem, and antisocial behaviour and life satisfaction. Those who were bullies were also more likely to engage in antisocial behaviour as compared to nonbullies/nonvictims and victims. The findings gave insight to the ethnic identity of Malaysian children and adolescents who are monoethnic and multiethnic. This research also lends support to past research regarding relationships between self esteem, life satisfaction, bullying, perceived discrimination and antisocial behaviour. All factors that were found to be good correlates of psychological well being were discussed.