Ueno, K. (2009). Same-race friendships and school attachment: Demonstrating the interaction between personal network and school composition. Sociological Forum.
vol. 24 (3) pp. 515-537
Previous research has demonstrated that students are strongly attached to school when many same-race peers are present. This study extends the literature by considering students’ immediate social environment at school—egocentric friendship networks. I hypothesized that same-race friendships contribute to school attachment by increasing the amount of support that students receive for their racial backgrounds in direct interactions. Further, the association between same-race friendships and school attachment should be stronger when the school includes many same-race peers because the organizational condition increases the ability of same-race friendships to connect students to the major components of school-wide networks and reduces perceived racial contrast between friends and nonfriend peers. Statistical analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) provided some support for these hypotheses, but white, black, Hispanic, and Asian students showed somewhat different patterns, suggesting group differences in how students develop and view same-race friendships. The study highlights the importance of individual agency in navigating the multileveled social environment as well as the ability of organizational contexts to shift emotional consequences of personal relationships.