Peer Influence on Ethnic-Racial Identity Development: A Multi-Site Investigation

Carlos E. Santos, Olga Kornienko, Deborah Rivas-Drake

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    64 Scopus citations


    The peer context features prominently in theory, and increasingly in empirical research, about ethnic-racial identity (ERI) development, but no studies have assessed peer influence on ERI using methods designed to properly assess peer influence. We examined peer influence on ERI centrality, private, and public regard using longitudinal social network analysis. Data were drawn from two sites: a predominantly Latina/o Southwestern (SW) school (N = 1034; Mage = 12.10) and a diverse Midwestern (MW) school (N = 513; Mage = 11.99). Findings showed that peers influenced each other's public regard over time at both sites. However, peer influence on centrality was evident in the SW site, whereas peer influence on private regard was evident in the MW site. Importantly, peer influence was evident after controlling for selection effects. Our integration of developmental, contextual, and social network perspectives offers a fruitful approach to explicate how ERI content may shift in early adolescence as a function of peer influence.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)725-742
    Number of pages18
    JournalChild development
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - May 1 2017

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
    • Education
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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