21-12-2019 | Empirical Research
National Identity Development and Friendship Network Dynamics among Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Youth
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence | Uitgave 3/2020Log in om toegang te krijgen
The development of peer relationships and of one’s identity are key developmental proficiencies during adolescence. Understanding how immigrant and non-immigrant adolescents are developing a sense of their national identity and the role that this plays in how they select their friends and are influenced by their friends is essential for developing a more comprehensive understanding of adolescent development in context. The current study used longitudinal social network analysis to examine the interplay of national identity development and friendship network dynamics among immigrant and non-immigrant adolescents in Greece (N = 1252; 46% female). All youth with higher national identity resolution (i.e., youth’s sense of clarity regarding their identity as a member of Greek society) in Grade 8 were more often nominated as a friend in Grade 9. During the transition from 8th to 9th grade, all youth became more similar to their nominated friends in terms of their Greek national identity exploration (i.e., degree to which they had engaged in activities to learn more about Greek society). During the transition from 7th to 8th grade, there was significant variability in peer selection on national identity exploration and resolution between immigrant and non-immigrant youth. Specifically, immigrant youth demonstrated selection effects consistent with notions of homophily, such that they were more likely to nominate peers in 8th grade whose levels of national identity exploration and resolution were similar to their own when in 7th grade. In contrast, non-immigrant youth preferred peers in 8th grade with low levels of national identity exploration (regardless of their own levels of exploration in 7th grade) and peers whose levels of national identity resolution in 8th grade were different from their own in 7th grade (e.g., non-immigrant youth who reported high national identity resolution in 7th grade were more likely to nominate peers who had low national identity resolution in 8th grade). There were no differences by immigrant status in peer influence, suggesting that the significant peer influence effects that emerged during the transition from 8th to 9th grade in which youth became more similar to their friends in national identity exploration may reflect a universal process. These results chart new directions in understanding contemporary youth development in context by showing that adolescents develop their national identity and friendships in tandem and that certain aspects of this process may vary by immigrant status.