Fenella Fleischmann, Lars Leszczensky, Sebastian Pink
Identity Threat and Identity Multiplicity among Minority Youth: Longitudinal Relations of Perceived Discrimination with Ethnic, Religious and National Identification in Germany

British Journal of Social Psychology, 2019: 58, issue 4, pp. 971-990
ISSN: 0144-6665 (print); 2044-8309 (online)

The notion that ethnic and religious minority identities are inherently incompatible with the national identities of European immigrant‐receiving societies is popular in public discourse. Although findings documenting such negative associations seemingly support this claim, other research shows that the intergroup context matters for the extent to which minorities’ ethnic and religious identities are conflicting (i.e., negatively associated) or compatible (i.e., positively associated) with European national identities. However, previous research relied on cross‐sectional data and therefore could not capture the dynamic process through which minority youth come to develop compatible or conflicting identification patterns. We extend this work with a longitudinal approach by capturing developmental trajectories of identity multiplicity among ethnic minority early adolescents in Germany over three waves with 9‐month intervals. At each measurement point, participants reported their ethnic, religious, and (German) national identification and their experiences with discriminatory treatment. We estimate a cross‐lagged panel model to study how identification relates to perceived discrimination and how this affects (changes in) associations between ethnic, religious, and national identification of minority youth. Our results show prevalent positive associations between ethnic, religious, and national identification across minority youth in the sample. Those who report more frequent discrimination, however, lower their (German) national identification over time, which in turn predicts increased minority identification. We conclude that identity threat indeed triggers a development of more conflicting identification patterns.