Methods: This study utilized a mixed methods approach to understanding the experiences of SGFAs. In-depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 male and 18 female U.S.-born Filipino Americans between the ages of 18 and 22 years old. Each participant completed a battery of scales that measure ethnic identity, family conflict and cohesion, perceived discrimination, colonial mentality, and depressive symptoms. The extended case method (ECM) was used in order to build on existing theories of acculturation and ethnic identity formation among ethnic minority youth, and consider the unique position of SGFAs in light of their political history (Buroway, 1998). A thematic analysis of the transcribed interviews (Fereday & Muir-Cochrane, 2006) assisted in highlighting common themes between each interview.
Results: Results reveal the powerful role colonial mentality plays within family socialization, as it both promotes successful assimilation and hampers Filipino ethnic identity formation among SGFAs. In essence, cultural retention is often devalued among parents of SGFAs. SGFAs express a desire to learn more about their culture and heritage, but often do not have the resources to do so. Additionally, when quantitative data is compared with qualitative content, participants' perceptions of their own ethnic identity and relationship with Filipino culture is not fully captured by pencil and paper measurements.
Conclusions and Implications: Qualitative results highlight the complexities of the ethnic identity formation process, and how a history of colonization that is experienced by many other ethnic groups may significantly weaken their ethnic identity, leaving them vulnerable to depression. Understanding the complexities of this process stresses the importance of retaining culture within the family of ethnic youth who have, often to their detriment, learned to assimilate well.