reliability, psychometrics, ethnic identity, personal identity


Individuals’ strength of ethnic identity has been linked with multiple positive indicators, including academic achievement and overall psychological well-being. The measure researchers use most often to assess ethnic identity, the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM), underwent substantial revision in 2007. To inform scholars investigating ethnic identity, a reliability generalization analysis was performed on data from the revised version (MEIM–R) and compared with data from the original MEIM. Random-effects weighted models evaluated internal consistency coefficients (Cronbach’s alpha). Reliability coefficients for the MEIM–R averaged α = .88 across 37 samples, a statistically significant increase over the average of α = .84 for the MEIM across 75 studies. Reliability coefficients for the MEIM–R did not differ across study and participant characteristics such as sample gender and ethnic composition. However, consistently lower reliability coefficients averaging α = .81 were found among participants with low levels of education, suggesting that greater attention to data reliability is warranted when evaluating the ethnic identity of individuals such as middle-school students. Future research will be needed to ascertain if data with other measures of aspects of personal identity (e.g., racial identity, gender identity) also differ as a function of participant level of education and associated cognitive/maturation processes.

Original Publication Citation

Herrington, H. M., Smith, T. B., Feinauer, E., & Griner, D. (2016). Reliability generalization of the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure-Revised (MEIM-R). Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(5), 586-593.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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David O. McKay School of Education


Counseling Psychology and Special Education

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor