Cross-ethnic peer preferences in emerging adults

Anne-Marie Wulff Harcrow, Fayetteville State University


The purpose of this study was to examine the formation of cross-ethnic peer preferences among emerging adults and the protective roles that cross-ethnic friendships may play in social, cognitive, and physiological adjustment. 91 participants between the ages of 18-29 were recruited. A mixed methods design was used, employing open-ended questions to obtain qualitative information about ways in which cross-ethnic friendships are formed. Questionnaires and measures were used to gather quantitative information about the number of cross-ethnic friendships, ethnic identity, perceived discrimination, depressive symptoms, physical symptoms, and attitudes toward racial/ethnic diversity. Having cross-ethnic friendships is significantly associated with lower ethnic identity and more accepting attitudes towards contact with racial/ethnic diversity. While perceived ethnic discrimination positively correlates with both depression and physical symptoms, no significant interaction is shown between cross-ethnic friendships and perceived discrimination. Themes were identified and coded for the responses to the open-ended questions. Implications and interpretations are discussed.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Harcrow, Anne-Marie Wulff, "Cross-ethnic peer preferences in emerging adults" (2013). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI1524763.