196956 Ethnic identity development and youth violence prevention among Asian and Pacific Islander youths

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:30 PM

Jane Chung-Do, MPH , Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawai'i Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Tai-An Miao, MURP , University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, Asian/Pacific Islander Youth Violence Prevention Center, Honolulu, HI
Corey Adler, MA , University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, Asian/Pacific Islander Youth Violence Prevention Center, Honolulu, HI
Deborah Goebert, DrPH , Department of Psychiatry, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Background: Recent studies have found links between ethnic identity development and interpersonal youth violence risks. Based on these findings, an Ethnic Studies Course has been implemented at a public high school of predominately Asian and Pacific Islander youths in Hawai`i. Objective/purpose: The content of students journals, kept as a part of the Ethnic Studies Course, was examined to assess the impact of the course on students' ethnic identity development and their violence risks. Methods: Three raters analyzed and identified common themes from a systematic sample of journal entries. Results: Journals reveal that most students have not previously reflected on their own ethnic identity and were often surprised by their reflections and those of their classmates. Students' defined their ethnic identities beyond traditional concepts of ancestral heritage, by also incorporating their experiences with multiple cultural practices, attachment to their families and friends, and phenotypic characteristics. Students also enjoyed building relationships with their classmates through various civic projects required by the Ethnic Studies Course. Discussion/Conclusions: The multi-dimensional approach in which students defined their ethnic identity reflects the growing ethnic diversity of Hawai`i and the US, which may impact how researchers measure ethnicity and race in the future. Providing an academic space for students to explore ethnic identities of themselves and others may enhance peer relationships in a multi-cultural setting. Therefore, incorporating an Ethnic Studies Course may be a promising approach to ultimately prevent youth violence.

Learning Objectives:
1) Explain the ethnic disparities in violence perpetration and victimization rates among Asian and Pacific Islander youths in State of Hawai`i. 2) Describe two key concepts taught in the Ethnic Studies Course implemented in Hawai`i. 3) Identify three themes that emerged from studentsí journals related to their ethnic identity and violence risks.

Keywords: Ethnic Identity, Violence Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work at the Asian/Pacific Islander Youth Violence Prevention Center as a Public Health graduate assistant where I have assisted in evaluating the Ethnic Studies Course.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.