and Personal Identity
each of us draws a major part of our sense of self from the cultural
which we grew up and were socialized. As we are able
to demonstrate that we have integrated the cultural lessons of our group
and behave and think accordingly, we are accepted and integrated into
identified with, and supported by a cultural group is essential to
our sense of
security. Research has demonstrated
that social support and a sense of belonging have positive effects
on mental and physical health while social isolation has negative effects.
The link between health/mental health, and cultural integration remains
strong throughout our lifetimes.
Just as cultures
are not static, neither are our personal identities, which are derived
from cultural conceptualizations.
A woman may be a
wife, a mother, a divorcee, or a grandmother at different times in
her life. She may be a factory worker, a refugee, or an immigrant.
these statuses carries with it a set of cultural norms and expectations.
Additionally, if a woman moves from one culture to another, she may
adopt some of her new culture’s ideas about the role of wife
while still keeping some of her old culture’s ideas. As individuals
move through life, their personal histories interact with their cultures
in a dynamic
Because much of cultural
learning takes place out of consciousness, we are not always aware
of the manner in which culture shapes our personal
identities or that we all have a cultural identity that is an integral
aspect of our individuality. However, if we develop cultural awareness,
we begin to see how aspects of our culture have shaped our beliefs
behaviors. Individual characteristics such as gender, age cohort,
and race, as well as physical and intellectual abilities and disabilities,
interact with cultural and subcultural factors such as class, education,
religion, and occupation to produce our unique identities.