Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Tom Mould

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Shufeldt


This study expands on previous research on one dimension of ethnic identity construction within the Hispanic community by considering ethnonym usage. A majority of the research on Hispanic identity in the U.S. has been conducted in the western region of the country. However, regional differences with varying concentrations of Hispanic populations can have a huge impact on ethnic identity and by extension, ethnonym adoption and usage. For many, ethnonyms are symbols of who a person is, how they perceive themselves, and how they want the world to perceive them. Previous studies have acknowledged the relationship between ethnic identity and ethnonym choice, yet fails to address the specific factors that impact ethnonym choice, codeswitching, and how different terms index different identities. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods that included an anonymous online survey followed by interviews with Hispanic college students throughout the state of Indiana, data revealed more familiarity and usage of terms such as Hispanic and Latino in comparison to Chicano and Latinx. Both the survey and interviews spoke on family and regional influence, community, generational differences, biculturalism, legal status, societal pressures, Spanish language retention, and pressures. For some, identifying with Hispanic is preferred due to its greater usage and familiarity in the state of Indiana than other ethnonyms. However, usage of Latinx is generally expected in specific environments, like academia, in order to practice inclusivity. Nonetheless, individuals demonstrated that adopted ethnonyms acted as symbols of both resistance and expression of cultural identity.