Ueno, Koji (2010). Patterns of cross-orientation friendships in high schools. Social Science Research.
vol. 39 (3) pp. 444-458
Previous studies indicate that school friendship networks of sexual minority students (students with non-heterosexual orientations) consist mostly of straight peers, but little is known about these straight friends. This paper examines what background characteristics predict straight students’ chance of having sexual minority friends by analyzing friendship nomination data from two large high schools included in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Straight females are more likely than straight males to have cross-orientation friendships particularly with sexual minority males. Like friendships among straight students, cross-orientation friendships show a strong homophilous tendency—straight students choose sexual minority friends within their grade levels, racial groups, and academic aptitude levels. Beyond homophily, white race and high levels of academic aptitude and parent education increase straight students’ chance of having sexual minority friends in some gender combinations, consistent with previous research showing the links between these backgrounds and positive attitudes toward sexual minorities.
Social Science Research