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05-12-2018 | Empirical Research

Quality and Stability of Cross-Ethnic Friendships: Effects of Classroom Diversity and Out-of-School Contact

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence
Auteurs:
Leah M. Lessard, Kara Kogachi, Jaana Juvonen

Abstract

Cross-ethnic friendships are linked to a range of positive outcomes in adolescence, but have been shown to be lower quality and less stable than same-ethnic friendships. The current study examined how classroom diversity and out-of-school contact contribute to these relational differences between cross-and same-ethnic friendships. Multilevel analyses were conducted on a sample of 9,171 classroom-based friends nested within 4,333 ethnically diverse sixth grade students (54% female; 32% Latino, 20% White, 14% East/Southeast Asian, 12% African American, 14% Multiethnic, 8% Other ethnic). Consistent with the hypotheses, lower ethnic diversity in classes shared by friends and lack of home contact (as opposed to electronic) contributed to relational differences between cross- and same-ethnic friendships. The findings suggest that while diverse classrooms enable youth to bond across ethnic groups, connecting outside of school is critical for the relational quality and longevity of cross-ethnic friendships.

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