Stearns, Elizabeth, Bachmann, Claudia, & Bonneau, Kara
Interracial Friendships in the Transition to College: Do Birds of a Feather Flock Together Once They Leave the Nest?
Examines formation of interracial friendships among college students by examining how friendship networks change during the transition from HS to college and explores racial composition of collegiate friendship networks for several racial groups.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Sociology of Education
Vol. 82, No. 2, pp. 173-195
- Whites reported far fewer interracial friendships in the precollege friendships networks than did any other group.
- White students were least likely to report cross racial/ethnic friendships in their college residence halls.
- Black students were most likely to report interracial tension in college residence halls.
- Whites (42%) and Latinos (44%) were more likely than other racial groups to join fraternities and sororities during their freshman year.
- The proportion of interracial friendships in Whites' friendship networks in the first year of college remains lower than that of students of other racial groups.
- More than half the Black and Asian students and one-third of Latino students joined cultural/ethnic organizations, compared to less than 4% of Whites.
- Whites form more interracial friendships during their freshman year, accounting for 16.2% of their friendships, while Blacks experience a loss in the amount of interracial friendships during this year (39.9% to 31.1%).
- Asian, Latino, and Other-race students maintain their precollege levels of interracial friendships.
- Students in more racially heterogeneous classrooms do not have a significantly higher proportion of interracial friendships.
- The proportion of students' interracial friendships prior to college had the largest impact on the propotion of interracial friendships in the first year of college.
- Students with a different-race roomate have a higher proportion of interracial friendships than those with a same-race roommate.
- Students without a roommate have more interracial friendships than those with same-race roommate.
- White students who do not join Greek organizations develop more interracial friendships.
- Students who join ethnic/cultural clubs have lower proportions of interracial friendships than do students who do not.
- Not nationally representative of all college freshmen.
Journal Article Empirical Research
College, Contact Theory , High School, Peer Effects, SES
Descriptive Statistics, Survey
Method of Analysis:
Generalized Linear Models
Unit of Analysis:
- Data from Campus Life and Learning Project, which follows students from the summer after HS through their first year at a highly selective private research university with approx 6,000 undergraduate students in the southern US in 2001 and 2002.
- All students matriculated in the college of arts and sciences or the engineering college. All Black and Latino students, 1/3 of White students, 2/3 of Asian students.
- Controls included respondents' self-reports of race, gender, family income, and parent's education.
- DV: Extent to which students had interracial friendships in the spring semester of the first year of college (proprotion of different-race friends.
- IV: Gender, Race (White, Black, Latino, Asian, Other), SES, racial composition of high school neighborhood/ high school, proportion of different-race friends (pre-college), college contacts.