Birds of an ethnic feather? Ethnic identity homophily among college-age friends

Moin Syed, Mary Joyce D. Juan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


This study assessed the degree to which pairs of friends report similar levels of ethnic identity. College-age friends (n= 107 pairs; N= 214 overall) completed measures of ethnic identity exploration and commitment, identity synthesis, relationship closeness, and frequency of talking to friends and family about ethnicity-related issues. Participants were ethnically-diverse and constituted three types of dyads: both ethnic minorities (n= 51), both White (n= 24), or mixed ethnic minority and White (n= 32). Overall, friends reported similar levels of ethnic identity exploration and commitment. The ethnic composition of the pair moderated similarity, with ethnic minority pairs showing greater similarity than the White and mixed pairs. Frequency of ethnicity-related discussions with friends and family, but not relationship closeness, mediated the observed similarity for ethnic minority pairs. These findings suggest a level of ethnic identity homophily between ethnic minority friends that can be explained by interactional mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1505-1514
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Ethnic identity
  • Friendships
  • Homophily


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