RESEARCH PAPER
Identity and well-being of ethnic minority and mainstream adolescents in Bulgaria
 
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1
Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Sweden
2
Department of Education, Hiroshima University, Japan
3
Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University, the Netherlands
4
Gratia Christian College, Hong Kong
5
North-West University, South Africa, and University of Queensland, Australia
Submission date: 2016-04-14
Final revision date: 2016-05-18
Acceptance date: 2016-05-27
Online publication date: 2016-12-09
Publication date: 2017-03-31
 
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2017;5(1):41–52
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background
We study identity in the context of long-term sedentary groups in Eastern Europe in contrast to the frequently studied short-term immigrants in typical Western European or US American contexts. This paper provides a novel approach to youth identity in an Eastern European post-communist context for minority groups that are quite distinct from the mainstream group to advance the study of identity. Turkish-Bulgarians and Muslim-Bulgarians have been subjected to extensive assimilation campaigns, which prompted them to carefully negotiate their ethnic identity and sense of belonging.

Participants and procedure
Participants were 366 adolescents aged 16 to 18 years (M = 16.72, SD = 0.71) from South Central and South Western regions of Bulgaria. This sample included Turkish-Bulgarian (n = 145), Muslim-Bulgarian (n = 85), and (mainstream) Bulgarian (n = 136) youth who provided data on personal, ethnic, familial, and religious identity as well as psychological well-being.

Results
Turkish-Bulgarian youth scored higher on achievement, diffusion, and foreclosure but lower on moratorium and Bulgarian ethnic and familial identity than Muslim-Bulgarian and Bulgarian youth. Bulgarian mainstreamers scored significantly lower on religious identity compared to their Turkish-Bulgarian and Muslim-Bulgarian peers. Finally, Bulgarian mainstream identity significantly predicted well-being of youth from all groups, independent of their ethnic background.

Conclusions
A strong ethnic and familial identity results in beneficial psychological outcomes for youth, even in the face of adversity and assimilation.
 
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