This study looked at the relationship between perceived discrimination during COVID, psychological well-being, and adoptee and ethnic identity. Ethnic identity, perceived discrimination, and psychological well-being did not have any significant relationships with each other. However, ethnic identity is a significant predictor for collective self-esteem, while prejudice was not. This means that for adoptees who strongly identify as Chinese, Chinese American, Asian, or Asian American, and it is a core part of their identity, they will be more likely to have a higher group identity. This result fits into previous research done on the importance of group membership to a high self-esteem and social identity (Tajfel & Turner, 2004).
limitations and future research
While my research supported previous research on Asian Americans, COVID-related racism, adoptee identity, and psychological well-being, there were still many limitations to my study. One limitation is that this study looked at purely Chinese adoptees rather than all Asian adoptees. Chinese adoptees may have different experiences than Korean, Vietnamese, or even Thai adoptees do in the United States. Because the COVID-19 virus originated in China, Chinese adoptees may have a different reaction to phrases like “Chinese Virus”. Additionally, non-Chinese adoptees who are also Asian adoptees, may have unique reactions to receiving COVID-related discrimination when it comes across as targeting only Chinese populations. Similarly, this study looked at international and transracial adoptees. There are many adoptees in the United States who are domestic adoptees, meaning they were born in the United States and adopted by a family in the United States. Asian adoptees who were born and raised in the United States, as well as Asian adoptees who grew up with Asian adoptive parents, may have completely different experiences than Asian adoptees who were born abroad and were raised by non-Asian parents.
Many of the limitations discussed can be looked at through follow-up research. It would be interesting to see future research studies look at all Asian adoptees, both in the United States and in other countries, and compare the results. Moreover, it would be interesting to have a larger sample size of a more balanced gender ratio. Persons with different gender identities have different reactions to situations, maybe adoptees still have a similar reaction because they have that shared identity with each other.
implications and importance
As a Chinese transracial adoptee, this research is able to open people’s eyes to a perspective that is often overlooked, downplayed, or completely shut down. Many times, as adoptees, we are told by both family and friends, to be grateful for what we have and for the life we are given. When we try to discuss topics such as race-related discrimination, we may not always feel that we “fit in” or “belong to” the ethnic community of our birth country. I personally never felt like I could relate to the Asian community or the white community growing up. I was too in-between two cultures to find a place where I belonged. During COVID, this sense was heightened with the stories of attacks on Asian elders. I never grew up with Asian elders and I am not a multi-generation immigrant Chinese woman. I could never relate to the other Asians and Asian Americans fearing that their grandparents would be attacked walking down the street. Similarly, when events such as the Atlanta spa shooting happened, that took the life of six innocent Asian women, I had no words to describe how I was feeling. All of these racially motivated attacks were being committed by a community that I call family and by people that look like those I love.