2017-2018 Grant in Aid of Research

Religiosity and Ethnic Identity As Predictors of Identity Orientation among African-American and Caucasian American Women

Helen N. Rolle

The goal of the current research is to examine the relationship between religiosity, ethnic identity, and identity orientation in adult women. Identity orientation includes personal and social aspects of identity. I will explore how religious beliefs and ethnic affiliation may influence personal and social aspects of identity for African American women and Caucasian women. An understanding of the influence of religiosity and ethnic identity on the identity orientation of women is necessary. Psychologists and sociologists have debated about the relative importance of the personal components of identity versus the social components of identity. However, the problem with traditional conceptualizations of identity is that epistemology on women’s identity is grounded in a masculinist perspective. Because canonized theorists were men, it was common to generalize their beliefs regarding identity to both genders without investigation, empirical validation, or consideration that differences may exist for men and women. Thus, there is a lack of empirical information on whether there is a difference in the identity orientation of black women and white women. Hence, there remains little research on whether differences in religiosity and ethnic identity result in differences in identity orientation for women of different racial backgrounds. In order to evaluate the relationship between the independent variables (religiosity and ethnic identity) with the dependent variable (identity orientation), the researcher will conduct an online survey using a self-report questionnaire consisting of items from The Brief Religiosity Scaly (BRS) developed by Dollinger (1996), The Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MIEM) created by Phinney (1992), and the Aspects of Identity Questionnaire (AIQ-IV) by Cheek and Briggs (2103).