The current paper presents a lifespan model of ethnic-racial identity (ERI) from infancy into adulthood. We conceptualize that ethnic-racial priming during infancy prompts nascent awareness of ethnicity/race that becomes differentiated across childhood and through adulthood. We propose that the components of ERI that have been tested to date fall within five dimensions across the lifespan: ethnic-racial awareness, affiliation, attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge. Further, ERI evolves in a bidirectional process informed by an interplay of influencers (i.e., contextual, individual, and developmental factors, as well as meaning-making and identity-relevant experiences). It is our goal that the lifespan model of ERI will provide important future direction to theory, research, and interventions.
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