Zhang, X. (2023). Adolescent Exposure to Racially and Ethnically Diverse Neighborhoods and Schools: Implications for Interracial Dating, Cohabitation, and Marriage in Emerging and Young Adulthood. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Background: Interracial romantic relationships and unions are a marker of social distance between racial and ethnic groups, but the role of geographic context at schools and neighborhoods during adolescence in shaping interracial romantic relationship formation in the transition to adulthood has been underexplored, which is important for understanding how intergroup contact in the school and neighborhood contexts during adolescence may have subsequent consequences for interracial union formation later in emerging and young adulthood. Methods: Using data from Waves I, III, and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, this study examines the roles of exposure to racial and ethnic diversity in schools and geographic regions in adolescence in shaping the likelihood of being in an interracial romantic relationship in emerging and young adulthood. Results: Adolescents who lived in a Census tract that had fewer of their own racial and ethnic groups were significantly more likely to be in interracial romantic relationships in emerging and in young adulthood. Adolescents who attended more racially and ethnically diverse high schools were also more likely to be in interracial romantic relationships in emerging adulthood. In young adulthood, Hispanic adolescents who went to primarily White high schools were more likely to be in interracial romantic relationships in emerging adulthood and young adulthood. Conclusions: Exposure to racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods and schools is associated with an increased likelihood of interracial union formation in emerging and young adulthood.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships