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Closeness and Competition in the Inter-Ethnic and Co-Ethnic Friendships of Early Adolescents in Toronto and Montreal

NCJ Number
Journal of Early Adolescence Volume: 27 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2007 Pages: 115-138
Barry H. Schneider; Kristopher Dixon; Stephen Udvari
Date Published
February 2007
24 pages
This study compared aspects of closeness and competition in the inter-ethnic and co-ethnic friendships of 390 junior high school students living in multi-ethnic neighborhoods in Montreal and Toronto.
The results indicated that co-ethnic friendships were more stable and cohesive than inter-ethnic friendships. Co-ethnic friendships were characterized by greater closeness and more conflict than inter-ethnic friendships and co-ethnic friendships were more likely to survive a 6-month interval. Among the inter-ethnic friendships that survived after 6 months, the majority experienced increasing conflict levels. Friendships that were characterized by conflict were more likely to dissolve later in the school year. Male friendships characterized by nonhostile competition were likely to be sustained. Participants were 390 students in Grade 7 in 2 English-speaking junior high schools in Toronto and Montreal. The participants’ ethnic origin was classified on the basis of the birthplace of their parents and the languages spoken at home. Participants indicated close friends from a roster of participating students and indicated how long they had been friends. Friendship dyads were then identified on the basis of reciprocal nomination. The quality of the friendship was measured by both members of each friendship dyad through the use of a self-administered questionnaire. Data analyses were completed using the statistical software package SPSS and included hierarchical log linear analysis and repeated-measures MANOVA. Future research should focus on the underlying mechanisms behind the greater strength of co-ethnic friendships in comparison to inter-ethnic friendships. Tables, references


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