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More Than Meets the Eye: How Black and Minority Ethnic Care-Leavers Construct and Make Sense of Their Identity

1
Children and Young People’s Directorate, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, London SE18 3RZ, UK
2
School of Psychology and Life Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University, Tunbridge Wells TN1 2YG, UK
3
Family Safeguarding Team, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Stevenage SG1 2ST, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 October 2020 / Revised: 30 December 2020 / Accepted: 11 January 2021 / Published: 27 January 2021
Looked-after children are exposed to significant developmental trauma which may impact their identity development. Discourses of vulnerability and maladaptation often surround this group, while care-leavers often self-identify as survivors. The role of culture in identity formation is also well documented, and cultural socialisation is linked to psychological adjustment and wellbeing. Despite this, little research has explored identity development in black and minority ethnic (BAME) care-leavers. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis is used to analyse eight semi-structured interviews with BAME care-leavers about their experience of identity development. Three superordinate themes were developed: My journey—how I became me; Identity as a process—the processes that support identity development; and who am I—how I see myself now. Participants’ identity development was adaptive in the context of surviving significant disruption and trauma. Findings are discussed with reference to previous research and limitations are considered. Clinical implications include the need to address additional barriers to positive self-identity faced by BAME care leavers, the importance of acknowledging care-leaver identity as adaptive and embodying a trauma-informed approach to working with this group. Further research into how care-leavers experience their cultural identity is needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: care-leaver; identity development; BAME; culture; developmental trauma care-leaver; identity development; BAME; culture; developmental trauma
MDPI and ACS Style

Lensvelt, I.; Hassett, A.; Colbridge, A. More Than Meets the Eye: How Black and Minority Ethnic Care-Leavers Construct and Make Sense of Their Identity. Adolescents 2021, 1, 36-53. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/adolescents1010004

AMA Style

Lensvelt I, Hassett A, Colbridge A. More Than Meets the Eye: How Black and Minority Ethnic Care-Leavers Construct and Make Sense of Their Identity. Adolescents. 2021; 1(1):36-53. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/adolescents1010004

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lensvelt, Isabelle, Alexander Hassett, and Alicia Colbridge. 2021. "More Than Meets the Eye: How Black and Minority Ethnic Care-Leavers Construct and Make Sense of Their Identity" Adolescents 1, no. 1: 36-53. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/adolescents1010004

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