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How the Intersections of Ethnic and Socioeconomic Identities are Associated with Well‐Being during College

Castillo‐Lavergne & Destin / Journal of Social Issues / November 2019

For Latinx and other college students from minoritized communities, racial and ethnic group membership, socioeconomic status (SES), and multiple other social identities play important roles in their college experiences and well‐being. How students perceive the intersection of their multiple identities is shaped by their own subjective understanding and by how other people and institutions perceive and position people who belong to those social groups. In the current study, we analyzed how the intersection of ethnic identity and SES identity is associated with well‐being among 19‐ to 27‐ year old (M = 22.4 years, SD = 2.3) working‐class Latinx college women. Consistent with previous research, feelings of uncertainty about SES were associated with lower psychological well‐being, but this relationship depended on ethnic identity. Specifically, the relationship between status uncertainty and well‐being was stronger for working‐class Latinx college women who were high in ethnic identity resolution. Implications for the study of identity and higher education policy and practice are discussed.