METHODS: This study used the fifth-wave of the Multicultural Adolescents Panel Study (2015) of Korea (N = 1,343, M = 13.97 years, SD = 0.37). Latent profiles of cultural identity were analyzed based on the three indicators: Korean identity, bicultural acceptance, and acculturative stress. Korean identity was assessed with four items on their perception to Korea. Bicultural acceptance was measured with ten items assessing their receptiveness to both Korean and the foreign parent’s culture. Acculturative stress was measured with ten items on their psychological distress caused by cultural conflicts and discrimination. Dropout intention was assessed with six items. Latent profiles were analyzed first, and their associations with dropout intention were investigated using a DE3STEP command with Mplus 6.1.
RESULTS: Four latent profiles of cultural identity emerged, and each latent profile group was labelled as Alienated (1), Struggling (2), Adaptable (3), and Embracing (4) type. Alienated type (8%) showed relatively low scores for all three indicators, and their scores for Korean identity and bicultural acceptance were especially low amongst all three. Struggling type (12%) also showed low Korean identity and bicultural acceptance, but their acculturative stress was the highest among all latent profile types. Adaptable type (62%) had moderate levels of Korean identity and bicultural acceptance with relatively low acculturative stress. Embracing type (18%) showed the highest scores on both Korean identity and bicultural acceptance, and their acculturative stress level was low. As for the dropout intention, Embracing type showed significantly lower dropout intention than all other types.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Findings from this study showed that different cultural identity can be developed in bi-ethnic adolescents. Embracing type seems to have balanced cultural identity and adjust well to their environment. On the contrary, Alienated and Struggling type appear to be grappling between two different cultural identities or rather detaching. Bi-ethnic adolescents in these types might need more support and resources so that they can develop a balanced cultural identity and reduce acculturative stress. We can prevent their dropout rate and promote adjustment in school by helping them find confidence in Korean society and values of bi-cultural acceptance.