Role of Ethnic Background for Friendship, Dislike, and Violence in Schools

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This study examines the role of ethnic background for friendship, dislike, and violence networks in secondary school.

The researchers from the University of Cologne analyse data on multiple networks from a large-scale study of more than 2500 seventh-graders in Germany. In addition to ethnic homophily in friendship networks, our results reveal a tendency among students to dislike ethnic outgroup members (ethnic heterophobia). However, students are more likely to engage in violence towards same-ethnic peers than outgroup members. This is partly due to the greater prevalence of violence among students who are close in the friendship network and students who spend time together outside of school. Moreover, schools marked by stronger ethnic homophily in friendships tend to display higher levels of ethnic heterophobia but exhibit higher levels of intra-ethnic rather than inter-ethnic violence.

Download study: Who is fighting with whom? How ethnic origin shapes friendship, dislike, and physical violence relations in German secondary schools

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