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Publication Title

Journal of Youth and Adolescence








Identity shifting represents a common but complex social, behavioral, and cognitive phenomenon. However, some forms of identity shifting originate in response to structural, institutional, and interpersonal marginalization enacted on lower status groups, such as people of color in the United States. The current study investigated ways young adults from diverse ethnic/racial groups discussed shifting to fit in with White Americans (a dominant group) in the United States and their own ethnic/racial group (a minoritized group) and elucidated self-reported motivations for shifting. Participants consisted of 764 young adults (ages = 18–23) recruited from two large public universities in the Southeast and Southwest regions of the United States. The majority of participants identified as Black/African American (41%), Asian/Asian American (27%), or Hispanic/Latinx (22%). Analysis of participants’ qualitative responses identified six types of shifts and two motivations for shifting. The shifts included: behavioral, linguistic, cognitive, physical, food, and affect. Motivations for shifting focused on avoiding risks and obtaining rewards. The discussion offers interpretation of the results and recommendations for future research on identity shifting.


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Data Availability

Article states: The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Original Publication Citation

Loyd, A. B., Westberg, D. W., Williams, L., Humphries, M., Meca, A., & Rodil, J. C. (2023). “I just want to be me, authentically”: Identity shifting among racially and ethnically diverse young adults. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 52(4), 701-718.