Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cross-ethnic friendships in schools make youths feel less vulnerable, safer

Date:
September 24, 2013
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
A new study found that cross-ethnic friendships in urban middle schools help make youths feel safer and less vulnerable. Researchers examined 536 Latino and 396 African American sixth graders from 66 classrooms in 10 urban American middle schools. The research suggests that these friendships increased feelings of safety and decreased those of vulnerability because no one ethnic group is numerically more powerful than any other group.

Cross-ethnicity friendships increased as the ethnic diversity of classrooms rose, the study found. Youths who reported these friendships felt less vulnerable—less lonely, less victimized by peers, and safer at school.
Credit: diego cervo / Fotolia

Friendships matter throughout life, and in early adolescence they provide validation and emotional support. Now a new study has found that friendships across ethnic groups in urban middle schools help protect youths from feeling vulnerable, making them feel less lonely and at the same time safer. As the population of children in the United States grows increasingly diverse, this study has implications for how educators oversee student interactions.

The study, by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, appears in the journal Child Development.

Researchers looked at 536 Latino and 396 African American sixth graders from 66 classrooms in 10 urban American middle schools that varied in ethnic diversity and were in predominantly low-income neighborhoods. The students reported on the number of same- and cross-ethnic friends they had, how vulnerable they felt, the quality of their friendships, and their ethnic identity.

Cross-ethnicity friendships increased as the ethnic diversity of classrooms rose, the study found. Youths who reported these friendships felt less vulnerable -- less lonely, less victimized by peers, and safer at school -- according to the findings. Earlier work by the same researchers found that greater classroom diversity predicted less vulnerability, and the researchers suggest that this may be because diverse classrooms have both more ethnic groups and groups of about the same size, which means that no one ethnic group is numerically more powerful than any other group. The current findings suggest that cross-ethnic friendships might partly explain the link between diversity and vulnerability.

"Students benefit when they take advantage of opportunities for cross-ethnic contact in forming friendships," explains Sandra Graham, professor of human development and psychology in the Department of Education at UCLA, who led the study. "The composition of classrooms can play a facilitative role."

Graham and her colleagues suggest that, even in ethnically diverse schools, administrators and teachers need to be especially sensitive to how organizational and instructional practices, such as academic tracking, promote or inhibit opportunities for students from different ethnic groups to interact.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sandra Graham, Anke Munniksma, Jaana Juvonen. Psychosocial Benefits of Cross-Ethnic Friendships in Urban Middle Schools. Child Development, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12159

Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Cross-ethnic friendships in schools make youths feel less vulnerable, safer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130924091800.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2013, September 24). Cross-ethnic friendships in schools make youths feel less vulnerable, safer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130924091800.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Cross-ethnic friendships in schools make youths feel less vulnerable, safer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130924091800.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2014) According to researchers at Albright College, women have the ability to make their voices sound sexier, but men don't. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins