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Cross-ethnic friendships are associated with better intergroup attitudes, especially among youth from societally dominant groups. In spite of the increasing diversity of the United States school-age population, it is not clear whether friendships between ethnic minority youth (“interminority” friendships) similarly predict intergroup attitudes. Moreover, little is known about the underlying mechanisms that can help account for such friendship effects. To address these gaps, the current study examines the number and the stability (a potential mechanism) of unique cross-ethnic friendships as predictors of intergroup attitudes in a sample of 2580 Black and Latino youth (52% female, 73% Latino) attending 26 ethnically diverse California public middle schools. Youth nominated their close friends across the three years of middle school. Multilevel analyses revealed that the presence of at least one stable Black-Latino friendship positively predicted attitudes, over and above the number of such friendships. These findings indicate that lasting friendships between youth of different ethnic backgrounds may be particularly potent in shaping adolescents’ attitudes, as opposed to several, transient relationships. Implications for facilitating stable friendships between youth of different racial/ethnic backgrounds are discussed, including suggestions for future research on interminority friendships.
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