Forehand, Erin Schwartz
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The present study aims to examine the interconnectedness of multiple aspects of identity in a population of women of color. The research specifically investigated the relationship between womanist and ethnic identity in a sample of 198 women who identified as either Latina or African American. All were either undergraduate or graduate students from a large, Southeastern university. Participants’ ethnic and womanist identity attitudes were measured using the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM), the Womanist Identity Attitudes Scale (WIAS), and a demographic questionnaire. Based on previous research, it was hypothesized that identification as either Latina or African American would not significantly impact scoring on the WIAS or MEIM. In addition, it was predicted the WIAS would exhibit poor psychometric properties and that it would be determined that a new factor structure is required for the WIAS to be considered structurally valid. Results of this study supported the hypothesis that the WIAS exhibited poor reliability. An exploratory factor analysis determined that the scale consists of heterogeneous items that did not load onto a single factor. The subscales were correlated in a manner that was contradictory to the premise of the womanist model and do not seem representative of the experiences of the women of the sample. The current research represents an important step in statistically confirming that the WIAS has poor structural validity and that alterations need to be completed in order to improve its psychometric properties. Further implications of the research will be discussed, as well as recommendations for future research.