Faculty Publications


A qualitative analysis of Vietnamese adolescent identity exploration within and outside an ethnic enclave.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

James P. McHale

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2009

Date Available

March 2012


Focusing on identity development explorations enables a greater understanding of contexts that affect immigrant adolescents. Utilizing thematic and grounded narrative analysis of 46 journal writings, during a one-month period, from first and second generation Vietnamese adolescents ranging in age from 15 to 18 (26 residents of a culturally and politically active ethnic enclave in Southern California; 20 adolescents living outside the enclave), this study establishes ways in which a focus on social context and exploration processes illuminates the complexity of immigrant adolescents’ identity formation. The two groups shared many similarities, including precipitants to exploration and steps undertaken to explore identity. However, two factors—social and cultural influences and emotional reactions—revealed interesting contrasts distinguishing enclave from non-enclave dwelling Vietnamese adolescents. Data also suggested that immigrant adolescents strive to integrate different domains of identity (ethnicity, gender, career) both with one another and with the historical, social, and cultural contexts they occupy.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 672-690. DOI 10.1007/s10964-008-9365-9 Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Plenum Press