Research has established that friendship is an important aspect of adolescent development. While much is known regarding adolescent friendship in general, limited information regarding interethnic friendship during this developmental period is available. Accordingly, the current study used both a quantitative and qualitative approach to investigate high school age adolescents' experiences as members of interethnic friendships. Adolescents' reported prejudice level, perceived school interracial climate, reported friendship quality and responses to open-ended questions were examined. Additionally, for African American participants who were members of an African American-European American interethnic friendship, their experience of the acting white accusation was surveyed. Participants reported low levels of prejudice, supporting previous research that for some, prejudice is a general factor, rather than source specific. The presence of subtyping (e.g., thinking of one's friend as an exception to an existing stereotype) was not detected. Participants perceived their schools' interracial climates positively; however, the predicted relationship between school interracial climate and friendship quality was not supported. Interestingly, though not predicted, a statistically significant negative relationship between school interracial climate and reported prejudice was found. Moderate levels of friendship quality were found in the current sample, and a portion of African American participants reported experiencing the acting white accusation. Participants' responses to the open-ended qualitative questions revealed that the majority of participants felt comfortable sharing their culture with their friend. Predicted themes of increased multiculturalism and decreased prejudice as benefits associated with being a member of an interethnic friendship were found. Potential for conflict and disapproval from others, both peers and adults, were also reported as disadvantages associated with being a member of an interethnic friendship. Connections between participants' qualitative responses and the quantitative results are also discussed.
|Commitee:||Kerns, Kathryn A., Merriman, William E., Neal-Barnett, Angela M., Stadulis, Robert E.|
|School:||Kent State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychology, Ethnic studies|
|Keywords:||Accusation, Acting, Adolescence, Adolescents, Age, Climate, Ethnic, Friendship, Interethnic, Interethnic friendship, Interracial, Prejudice, School, White|
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