study finds same-race friends help teens connect to school
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

In diverse schools, friends of the same race or ethnicity are influential in shaping teenagers’ sense of belonging, finds new research by a multidisciplinary team including Cornell’s Adam Hoffman, an expert in psychology and human development.

Though “same-ethnic” friends exert more influence, the researchers found other friends also contribute to how connected to school adolescents feel—a key indicator of teens’ well-being.

The findings highlight opportunities for school administrators and guidance counselors to promote programs seeking to build friendships among and between ethnic groups, and to tap influential students to help promote belonging within their friend networks at a diverse school.

“This finding speaks to the power of peers and friendships as influencers on belonging,” said Hoffman, assistant professor in the cross-college Department of Psychology and in the College of Human Ecology. “We have these embedded social networks that are influential in the school lives of teens, and we can harness these networks of friendships to help bolster positive attitudes, motivation and emotions towards school.”

Hoffman is a co-author of “Belonging in Diverse Contexts: Sociability Among Same-Ethnic and Cross-Ethnic Peers,” published in a special issue of School Psychology focused on social network analysis to assess students’ academic and personal outcomes.

A growing body of evidence has pointed to peers’ important role in shaping school belonging, typically defined as how accepted, respected and supported students feel in their classrooms, cafeterias and clubs, the researchers said.

The new study, conducted over a year at two diverse U.S. high schools, goes beyond suggesting a correlation between friendships and belonging, they said, to show direct influence by friends.

In surveys spanning three semesters at the two schools located in suburban areas of the Midwest and Southwest, the scholars surveyed a total of nearly 4,500 students in grades 9-12, who represented eight different ethnic and racial groups.

The students listed up to 10 friends that they hung out with and talked to most at school. They also reported how connected they had felt to school during the previous 30 days, using a five-point scale to answer questions such as “I feel safe in my school,” “I am happy in my school” and “I feel close to people at this school.”

Analyzing how the friend networks and belonging changed over time, the scholars observed friends’ influence beyond other key factors that could influence teens’ belonging, such as having many friends in school, being embedded in close-knit friend networks, academic achievement, and parental education.

“All friends were influential in fostering school belonging for these teens,” Hoffman said. “But we found that the kids who were matched on race, those friendships were more influential in their school belonging compared to cross-ethnic friendships.”

That makes sense, Hoffman said: It’s a time in young people’s development when peers’ influence grows relative to that of parents. And teens with similar social identities and backgrounds are likely to share common experiences that could facilitate belonging.

School belonging is an important outcome for teenagers, the researchers said, related to their academic achievement, motivation, mental health and general well-being.

“It’s kind of a bellwether of how kids are doing in general,” said Hoffman, director of the Promoting Resilience and Identities in Development (PRIDE) Lab, which focuses on understanding how social identities can be leveraged to promote positive youth development.

Research has shown school belonging tends to decrease in mid-adolescence, so influence by friends of the same or different ethnicities could be helpful or a risk factor, the authors said, depending on whether it encourages or discourages a sense of belonging.

The scholars said their work provides a more precise and nuanced understanding of who influences school belonging, but more research is needed to understand how friend influence works and to examine schools with different diversity levels. School belonging is an understudied subject, they said, but increasingly important to investigate as U.S. schools grow more diverse.

“Facilitating both cross-ethnic and same-ethnic friendships would be beneficial for teens,” Hoffman said, “helping to foster school belonging and make sure teens feel like they’re in a positive, happy and secure place.” More information: J. Ashwin Rambaran et al, Belonging in diverse contexts: Sociability among same-ethnic and cross-ethnic peers., School Psychology (2022). DOI: 10.1037/spq0000480 Provided by Cornell University Citation: Study finds same-race friends help teens connect to school (2022, May 11) retrieved 11 May 2022 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.


ChillWell AC Reviews: Is This Best Portable Air Cooler A Scam?

(Photo : ChillWell AC) Different climatic events characterize every year and season. The climatic calendar is programmed to work by seasons characterized by different weather conditions which have different effects on us humans. The seasons are  divided into winter, autumn , and summer. The winter is characterized by cold ...

View more: ChillWell AC Reviews: Is This Best Portable Air Cooler A Scam?

FCC Looks to Update Rural Broadband Subsidy Program

The agency is starting the process to raise the speed requirement to 100Mbps for rural broadband providers receiving subsidies.

View more: FCC Looks to Update Rural Broadband Subsidy Program

OnePlus Nord 2T launched with Dimensity 1300 SoC

OnePlus continues its campaign to fill the market with OnePlus Nord smartphones. Just a few weeks after the launch of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G, the company is here with yet another OnePlus Nord series smartphone. Worth noting, that this has been a quite hectic week for OnePlus fans. ...

View more: OnePlus Nord 2T launched with Dimensity 1300 SoC

First record of a gall-forming aphid fighting off predator

Saliva injected into leaf stalks by the aphids induces the plant to form small growths called galls that the aphids live inside. Credit: Andrew Legan A researcher reports evidence of a gall-forming aphid defending itself against predators, a first for the species, Mordwilkoja vagabunda. The insects inject saliva into ...

View more: First record of a gall-forming aphid fighting off predator

Redmi Note 11T Pro specs revealed by Geekbench benchmark

We can say that the Redmi Note 11T series managed to come close to its release date without being spotted. Now, Xiaomi is preparing the terrain for the new Redmi Note contenders. These devices will, obviously, be a follow-up to the current Redmi Note 11 series. However, the devices will ...

View more: Redmi Note 11T Pro specs revealed by Geekbench benchmark

Too much choice: The strange phenomenon of “analysis paralysis”

Choice is a good thing. Imagine a world where shops had only one item, or you could only have a pre-set list of friends, or if there was only one TV channel to watch. What a dull, narrow, monochromatic world that would be. Choice and freedom are the hallmarks ...

View more: Too much choice: The strange phenomenon of “analysis paralysis”

Marvel is working on a new Daredevil series for Disney Plus

Netflix announced that Marvel’s Daredevil wouldn’t return for a fourth season on November 29th, 2018. Ever since then, fans have been holding out hope that the hero would rise again. Their prayers were finally answered when Charlie Cox appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home last fall. Now, Variety reports ...

View more: Marvel is working on a new Daredevil series for Disney Plus

Smart LED Contact Lenses for Treating and Preventing Eye Disease

Schematic diagram of the prevention and early treatment system for diabetic retinopathy using wirelessly driven smart contact lenses equipped with LEDs. Credit: POSTECH Smart LED contact lenses developed for treating diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is a long-term chronic disease with many complications and requires lifelong care. The longer a patient ...

View more: Smart LED Contact Lenses for Treating and Preventing Eye Disease

Should You Buy a Portable Power Station?

These are the rarest and most expensive amiibo for Nintendo Switch

Canada bans China’s Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks

Online Spider Mystery Box Sale Now a Thing on the Internet; Some Species May Be Unknown

Spying on Thousands of Neurons in the Brain’s Vision Center Simultaneously

Why Is the Metaverse So Important?

NASA Announces InSight Lander Has Only a Few More Months Left of Analyzing Martian Surface

What Will the Metaverse Be Used For?

Expert Predictions on the Metaverse

Metaverse Startups to Watch in 2022

Corsair M65 RGB Ultra review: A worthy rival for Razer's flagship mice

Startup of the Week: Inworld AI


Top Car News Car News