Ethnic discrimination and global self-worth in early adolescents: The mediating role of ethnic self-esteem

Maykel Verkuyten, Jochem Thijs

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Peer victimization based on one’s ethnic group membership contributes to the problems and conflicts of ethnic minority children around the world. With ethnic discrimination, a part of the self is implicated. Hence, it is likely that being treated negatively on the basis of one’s ethnicity has a negative influence on ethnic self-esteem and thereby on feelings of global self-worth. Following structural models of the self it was predicted that ethnic self-esteem mediates the relationship between ethnic peer discrimination and global self-worth. To test this prediction a large scale study (N = 2682) was conducted among Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese and Dutch young adolescents (aged 10 to 13) living in The Netherlands. Using structural equation analysis, we found the predicted mediation for all four groups of participants. In addition, to examine the precise role of ethnic discrimination we also considered other types and dimensions of peer victimization. Our distinction between reasons (personal and ethnic) and types (teasing/name calling and social exclusion form play) of peer victimization fitted the data adequately. Global self-worth was more strongly related to experiences with teasing and name calling than to social exclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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