Perceiving Racial/Ethnic Disadvantage and Its Consequences for Self-Esteem among Asian-Americans

  •  Julie Spencer-Rodgers    
  •  Kaiping Peng    


This study is the first to test experimentally (vs. correlationally) whether perceiving racial/ethnic disadvantage
leads to lower self-esteem among Asian-Americans. We manipulated perceived disadvantage by having
Asian-American college students recall and write about experiences in which they were personally
disadvantaged because of their race/ethnicity, and examined the effects of perceiving disadvantage on various
outcome measures, including racial/ethnic identity, racial/ethnic salience (the number of ethnic identities
participants listed on the Twenty Statements Test), and self-esteem. Consistent with experimental research with
other racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States, the self-esteem of Asian-Americans was unharmed by
recalling and describing past incidents of racially-based disadvantage.

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