The Dynamic Interaction Between Cultural Identity Styles: A Person-Centered Approach Examining the Associations Among Cultural Identity-Processing Profiles, Cultural Identity Outcomes and Psychological Well-Being
Research suggests that hybrid and alternating cultural identity styles play a key role in negotiating between multiple cultural identities for bicultural individuals. The Hybrid Identity Style (HIS) entails blending identities by combining elements from ethnic and national cultures. The Alternating Identity Style (AIS) involves performing different cultural identities across contexts. It has been suggested that although people may prefer one strategy over the other, HIS and AIS are simultaneously available to individuals; however, this has never been empirically tested. The present study explores the way cultural identity styles are organised within individuals by identifying subgroups/profiles of participants based on their use of HIS and AIS. Additionally, it considers whether different configurations of HIS and AIS are related to cultural identity outcomes and psychological well-being in distinctive ways. Chinese Americans (N = 690; 58% female, 51% US-born) completed an online survey that included personal background information, measures of cultural identity styles, cultural identity consolidation, ethno-cultural identity conflict, life satisfaction and psychological symptoms. Latent Profile Analysis revealed five distinct profiles: 1) predominantly adopting the Hybrid Identity Style (HIS) (26.6%); 2) predominantly adopting the Alternating Identity Style (AIS) (3.6%); 3) dual processors (57.8%); 4) highly dual processors (9.3%); and 5) disengaged (2.7%). The profile with predominant endorsement of HIS was characterised by high levels of life satisfaction and a very low level of psychological symptoms. The profile with predominant endorsement of AIS was characterised by very low levels of life satisfaction and identity consolidation and high levels of psychological symptoms. The profile with extremely high scores on both HIS and AIS was notable in having a very high level of identity consolidation. These findings contribute to theory on cultural identity by demonstrating how HIS and AIS are simultaneously available to individual and are engaged in distinctive ways.