Extracurricular Activities in Multiethnic Middle Schools: Ideal Context for Positive Intergroup Attitudes?

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Abstract

This study examined processes by which extracurricular participation is linked with positive ethnic intergroup attitudes in multiethnic middle schools in California. Specifically, the mediating roles of activity-related cross-ethnic friendships and social identities including alliances with multiple groups were examined in a sample including African American or Black, East or South-East Asian, White, and Latino youth (N = 1,446; Mage = 11.60 in sixth grade). Results of multilevel modeling suggested that in addition to activity-related cross-ethnic friendships, complex social identities mediated the association between availability of cross-ethnic peers in activities and ethnic intergroup attitudes. Results are discussed in terms of how activities can be structured to promote cross-ethnic relationships and complex social identities, as well as positive ethnic intergroup attitudes.

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