The friendship networks of multiracial adolescents

The friendship networks of multiracial adolescents

Social Science Research
Volume 38, Issue 2, June 2009
pages 279-295
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2008.09.002

Lincoln Quillian, Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Northwestern University

Rozlyn Redd
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
Columbia University, USA

We investigate the friendship networks of multiracial adolescents through a comparison of the size and composition of the friendship networks of multiracial adolescents with single-race adolescents.  We consider three hypotheses suggested by the literature on multiraciality and interracial friendships: (1) that multiracial adolescents have smaller friendship networks than single-race adolescents because they are more often rejected by their single-race peers, (2) that multiracial adolescents form more racially diverse friendship networks than single-race adolescents, and (3) that multiracial adolescents are especially likely to bridge (or socially connect) friendships among members of their single-race heritage background groups.  Using data on adolescent friendship networks from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we find that multiracial adolescents are as popular as non-white adolescents and have social networks that are as racially diverse as the single-race groups with the most diverse friendship networks. Biracial adolescents with black ancestry have an especially high rate of friendship bridging between black persons and persons of other races, relative to black or white adolescents.  The results hold using both self-identified and parental race definitions. 

1. Introduction
2. Background
2.1. Social science studies of multiraciality
2.2. Racial friendship segregation and multiracial adolescents
2.3. Social rejection or social acceptance?
2.4. The racial composition of multiracial social networks
2.5. Research questions and our approach
3. Data
3.1. Construction of the self-assessed race and parental race samples
3.2. Measures of race
3.3. Social networks measurement
3.4. Analytic procedures
4. Analysis and results
4.1. The popularity of multiracial adolescents
4.2. Multiraciality and friendship diversity
4.3. Do multiracial adolescents bridge social networks of single-race students?
5. Discussion

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,