Beyond Ethnicity: Applying Helms’s White Racial Identity Development Model Among White Youth

Ursula Moffitt*, Leoandra Onnie Rogers, Kara R.H. Dastrup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Research on racial identity among Youth of Color has expanded considerably in recent years, but a parallel examination of racial identity among white youth has not occurred, reiterating whiteness as normative. We applied Janet Helms’s White Racial Identity Development (WRID) model among white U.S. youth (8–14 years old) to address this research gap. WRID centers racism and white supremacy, offering a framework to analyze white racial identity in the context of systemic inequity. Using longitudinal, qualitative analysis, we found age-related change over time, with some evidence of increasing resistance to racism. There was high participant variability, however, indicating that socio-cognitive abilities alone cannot predict anti-racist white identity development. We discuss implications for racial identity research and social justice-orientated developmental science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1140-1159
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • White racial identity
  • early adolescence
  • qualitative research
  • racial identity development
  • white youth
  • whiteness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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