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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Ethnic identity development and the influence of multicultural children's literature.

Author: Lee,-Jennifer-Serena
Author Background:
Date 7/2000
Type Dissertation
Journal Title: Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering.
Volume/Pages Vol 61(1-B): 564
Subject Matter Ethnic identity, Research, Multicultural Education
Abstract The effects of reading multicultural children's literature on ethnic identity, personal self-esteem, collective self-esteem, and knowledge and attitudes about an ethnic group were examined. The study incorporated an experimental design in which measures were administered before and after a 10-week multicultural book program was implemented with 192 Asian American and European American students in the fourth and seventh grades. Data analysis revealed no grade differences in ethnic identity, as measured by the age-modified Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure. Ethnic identity also did not increase over time for either ethnic group. Meanwhile, for European Americans, personal self-esteem, as measured by the Self-Perception Profile for Children, increased over time across both the multicultural and animal (control) book conditions. For Asian Americans, collective self-esteem, as measured by the age-modified Collective Self-Esteem Scale, decreased over time across both book conditions. However, on an assessment measure designed for the specific intervention, the students in the multicultural book condition, especially Asian Americans, indicated that the multicultural books they heard influenced, to some degree, how much they thought about ethnicity and felt proud of their ethnic group. Students of both ethnic groups in the multicultural book condition increased over time in their knowledge about Chinese Americans, the ethnic group featured in the multicultural stories. Attitudes toward diversity and Chinese Americans did not change over time, most likely a result of ceiling effects. These findings have implications for the implementation and evaluation of multicultural curricula. In-depth interviews were also conducted with a subset of participants to explore the components and processes involved in ethnic identity development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved) KP: multicultural book program participation, ethnic identity and personal and collective self-esteem and knowledge and attitudes about ethnic groups, 4th-7th grade Asian Americans and European Americans