ethnic identity, mental health, well-being, meta-analysis


This meta-analysis summarized research examining the relationship between the constructs of ethnic identity and personal well-being among people of color in North America. Data from 184 studies analyzed using random effects models yielded an omnibus effect size of r = .17, suggesting a modest relationship between the two constructs. The relationship was somewhat stronger among adolescents and young adults than among adults over age 40. No differences were observed across participant race, gender, or socioeconomic status, which findings support the general relevance of ethnic identity across people of color. Studies correlating ethnic identity with self-esteem and positive well-being yielded average effect sizes twice as large as those from studies correlating ethnic identity with personal distress or mental health symptoms. Thus ethnic identity was more strongly related to positive well-being than to compromised well-being. Overall, the corpus of research located in this review consist

Original Publication Citation

Smith, T. B., & Sylva, L. (211). Ethnic identity and personal well-being of people of color: A meta-analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58, 42-6.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


American Psychological Association




David O. McKay School of Education


Counseling Psychology and Special Education