Hybrid and Alternating Identity Styles as Strategies for Managing Multicultural Identities

Colleen Ward, Caroline Ng Tseung-Wong, Agnes Szabo, Tamara Qumseya, Uma Bhowon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The article introduces the concept of cultural identity styles, strategies that individuals use for decision making about identity-relevant issues, and proposes that blending and alternating are two strategies that acculturating individuals activate to manage multiple cultural identities. Drawing on diverse samples from New Zealand, Mauritius, and Israel, we present two studies. The first describes the construction of the Multicultural Identity Styles Scale (MISS) and the validation of its Hybrid Identity Style (HIS) and Alternating Identity Style (AIS) subscales. HIS was associated with greater blendedness as assessed by the Bicultural Identity Integration Scale (BIIS-1) and was more prominent in second-generation immigrants compared with their first-generation peers. AIS was associated with less BIIS harmony and was stronger in first-generation immigrants. In the second study, we propose, test, and replicate a mediational model, whereby cultural identity outcomes mediate the impact of cultural identity styles on well-being. Path analysis demonstrated that the motivation to integrate predicted the use of both HIS and AIS; however, HIS led to greater cultural identity consolidation and on to higher levels of well-being. In contrast, AIS predicted greater cultural identity conflict and poorer psychological adaptation. The studies advance our theorizing on biculturalism and integration by adopting a process-oriented approach to cultural identity negotiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1402-1439
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


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