Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
M. Nicole Coleman
Ethnicity refers to a social group category defined by the shared historical, national, social, political, and cultural heritage of a people. Ethnicity includes a reference to shared ancestry, language, customs, traditions, and similar physical characteristics among a group of people. In addition, ethnicity tends to be informed by the social group's particular geographic area. For example, in the United States, an individual may be racially classified as Black because he or she is associated with the social, political, and economic experiences, in addition to similar physical characteristics, of that social group, but be ethnically classified as Jamaican because he or she shares the historical, national, social, political, and cultural heritage with others from the Caribbean country of Jamaica. Ethnicity is assumed to have broad implications for how individuals understand themselves and experience the world around them. Therefore, ethnicity is thought to shape individuals' experiences of psychological well-being. Given the connection ...