Adolescent friendship networks, individual attributes, and school-level effects on college enrollment


Wu, Zebing (2012). Adolescent friendship networks, individual attributes, and school-level effects on college enrollment. 2012 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


Friendships play an important role in adolescents’ educational transition from high school to college. This research aims to investigate the mechanisms of how adolescent friendship networks affect long term educational outcomes. Based on recent theories on educational attainment and stratification (e.g., Samuel Lucas and Stephen Morgan), many hypotheses are proposed: Educational outcome is a function of prefigurative commitment (e.g., educational expectation), but mediated by preparatory commitment (e.g., observed daily behaviors devoted to realize expectations); as an important part of preparatory commitment, adolescent friendship networks are related to student's educational attainments; some network-related influence effects vary by some exogenous individual attributes; influence effects are also dependent on network (school) level variables. By using the first three waves of Add Health data, this research applies advanced statistical techniques (e.g., ERGM and HLM) to model the influences of friends after controlling for prior selection effects which determine individuals’ choice of friends. Many individual, dyadic, and network structure variables in the models will remain a significant positive relationship with the probability of college enrollment. Some significant interaction terms of individual attributes (e.g., sex, race, educational achievement) are also found. Furthermore, school-level effects will help explain some variances in college enrollment.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2012 Add Health Users Conference


Wu, Zebing

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID