Campus diversity important predictor of interracial friendships

Aug 27, 2008

One of the hopes of having diverse campus environments is that the daily interaction with students from different backgrounds will promote interracial understanding and friendship. A new study in the journal Social Science Quarterly found that campus racial and ethnic diversity is important in predicting friendship heterogeneity, and that minorities have higher predicted friendship diversity than whites.

Mary J. Fischer of the University of Connecticut used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen to examine how college characteristics, social distance felt toward other groups, and precollege friendship diversity affects the formation of interracial friendships in the first year of college. The sample consisted of nearly 4,000 white, black, Hispanic, and Asian college students from 27 different colleges and universities.

Results showed that exposure to greater diversity will result in more cross-group friendships for all students. The ability of the study to control for students' prior interracial experiences and attitudes rules out the argument that it is purely selection that drives choice in interracial friendship formation.

As school diversity rises, predicted friendship diversity also increases, although whites still have lower predicted levels of friendship diversity than minorities. However, this relationship shifts as schools become more diverse, with whites having nearly as diverse friendship networks as minorities on the most diverse campuses.

"This research provides evidence of the social benefits of assembling a diverse student body, particularly for white students, and can add to the debate over the continuation of affirmative action policies," Fischer concludes.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Physicist creates ice cream that changes colors as it's licked

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Audi tests its A7 driverless vehicle on Florida highway

36 minutes ago

German automaker Audi made use of a Florida law passed in 2012 that allows for testing driverless vehicles on Florida highways this past Sunday and Monday, by requesting a shutdown of Tampa's Lee Roy Selmon ...

India's Flipkart raises $1 bn to tackle Amazon

36 minutes ago

India's top e-commerce company Flipkart said Tuesday it had raised $1 billion (60 billion rupees) in funds as it battles US giant Amazon for supremacy in the hyper-competitive local market.

Recommended for you

Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds (w/ Video)

10 hours ago

A new study involving scientists from the University of Southampton has revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, ...

Congressional rift over environment influences public

14 hours ago

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Rural loss and ruin can be avoided

16 hours ago

An Australian Reconstruction Development Board needs to be established to help avoid more needless forcing of Australian farmers from their land, a QUT economist has said.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sophos
not rated yet Aug 28, 2008
But how does this benefit society as a whole? Do these friendships translate into better workplaces?

And what are the negative impacts of encouraging /accepting lower qualified students into these schools ?