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This article outlines current knowledge and lines of research regarding racial identity and, in particular, African American racial identity. A developmental psychological framework is proposed as a means of integrating and synthesizing 2 lines of racial identity research that have emerged within the existing literature: (a) the developmental line of research and (b) the adjustment outcome line of research. The proposed integration of the current racial identity research will emphasize the interdependency of developmental mechanisms, outcome processes, and identity trajectories among minority individuals, and highlight the significance of those identities for individuals across their life spans. Potential benefits of integrating these 2 lines of research within a developmental psychological framework are discussed regarding both scientific theory and practice-related applications.


Originally published in Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 6(4), 2006

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