The friendship networks of multiracial adolescents

Lincoln Quillian*, Rozlyn Redd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We investigate the friendship networks of multiracial adolescents through a comparison of the size and composition of the friendship networks of multiracial adolescents with single-race adolescents. We consider three hypotheses suggested by the literature on multiraciality and interracial friendships: (1) that multiracial adolescents have smaller friendship networks than single-race adolescents because they are more often rejected by their single-race peers, (2) that multiracial adolescents form more racially diverse friendship networks than single-race adolescents, and (3) that multiracial adolescents are especially likely to bridge (or socially connect) friendships among members of their single-race heritage background groups. Using data on adolescent friendship networks from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we find that multiracial adolescents are as popular as non-white adolescents and have social networks that are as racially diverse as the single-race groups with the most diverse friendship networks. Biracial adolescents with black ancestry have an especially high rate of friendship bridging between black persons and persons of other races, relative to black or white adolescents. The results hold using both self-identified and parental race definitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-295
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Friendships
  • Mixed race
  • Multiracial
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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