A Lifespan Model of Ethnic-Racial Identity

Chelsea Derlan Williams*, Christy M. Byrd, Stephen M. Quintana, Catherine Anicama, Lisa Kiang, Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor, Esther J. Calzada, María Pabón Gautier, Kida Ejesi, Nicole R. Tuitt, Stefanie Martinez-Fuentes, Lauren White, Amy Marks, Leoandra Onnie Rogers, Nancy Whitesell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The current paper presents a lifespan model of ethnic-racial identity (ERI) from infancy into adulthood. We conceptualize that ethnic-racial priming during infancy prompts nascent awareness of ethnicity/race that becomes differentiated across childhood and through adulthood. We propose that the components of ERI that have been tested to date fall within five dimensions across the lifespan: ethnic-racial awareness, affiliation, attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge. Further, ERI evolves in a bidirectional process informed by an interplay of influencers (i.e., contextual, individual, and developmental factors, as well as meaning-making and identity-relevant experiences). It is our goal that the lifespan model of ERI will provide important future direction to theory, research, and interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-129
Number of pages31
JournalResearch in Human Development
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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