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02-01-2020 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 5/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2020

Ethnicity, Peers, and Academic Achievement: Who Wants to be Friends with the Smart Kids?

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2020
Auteurs:
Xiaochen Chen, Amirah Saafir, Sandra Graham
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Abstract

Ethnic differences in peer reactions to academic achievement during adolescence has been a widely discussed but controversial issue in developmental and education research. Do peers respond positively or negatively to classmates of different ethnic groups who get good grades in school? The current study addressed this question by examining the linkage between academic achievement and friendship nominations received in an ethnically diverse sample of 4501 sixth grade students (Mage = 11.3 years; 51% female; 41.3% Latino, 25.1% White, 19.3% Asian, and 14.3% Black). The results of mediated moderation analyses showed that for Asians and Whites, higher academic achievement was associated with more same-ethnic friendships, whereas for Blacks and Latinos, higher academic achievement was associated with more cross-ethnic friendships. In addition, ethnic differences in the linkage between academic achievement and friendships were partly explained by classroom ethnic composition. Implications for promoting friendships of high achieving students both within and across ethnic boundaries were discussed.

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