Juggling Multiple Racial Identities: Malleable Racial Identification and Psychological Well-Being

Diana T. Sanchez, Margaret Shih, Julie A. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The authors examined the link between malleable racial identification and psychological well-being among self-identified multiracial adults. Malleable racial identification refers to the tendency to identify with different racial identities across different social contexts. Results across three studies suggested that malleable racial identification was associated with lower psychological well-being. Study 2 found that unstable regard (i.e., fluctuating private regard about their multiracial background) was the mechanism through which malleable racial identification predicted lower psychological health. Results of Study 3 suggested that dialectical self-views played an important moderating role that determines whether malleability is associated with negative psychological outcomes. The present studies uniquely show that malleable racial identification among multiracial people is maladaptive for psychological health, but that this may depend on whether or not people have tolerance for ambiguity and inconsistency in the self.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-254
Number of pages12
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • dialectical self-views
  • multiracial identity
  • racial identity
  • self concept stability
  • well-being

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