Cultural identity styles, well-being, and context of reception: A daily diary study
In our increasingly multicultural world, people manage their multiple cultural identities in a number of different ways. This study examines two mechanisms that individuals use in negotiating cultural identities: hybridising, which is characterised by picking and choosing the desirable elements from two or more cultures and blending them together in a novel way, and alternating, which involves shifting identities depending on the circumstances. The study also investigates how these styles are affected by contextual factors and how they are related to mental health outcomes. The data were collected through a 12-day diary study with 870 Hispanic university students. Multilevel modelling was used to examine longitudinal relationships between the hybrid and alternating cultural identity styles, perceived negative context of reception, and psychological well-being. The main findings are that within individuals, negative perceptions of the context of reception predict greater alternating style, and the alternating style, in turn, predicts greater depression, while the hybrid style leads to increased well-being. Reciprocal relationships between these variables were also found. Although preliminary, findings also show that the alternating and hybrid identity styles operate in a reciprocal relationship. The within-individual approach, which allows us to report idiosyncratic changes in the cultural identity styles in response to the context of everyday life, makes a unique contribution to understanding how bicultural individuals negotiate multiple cultural identities.