Peers and Homophobic Attitudes in Adolescence: Examining Selection and Influence Processes in Friendships and Antipathies

Chaïm la Roi*, Jan Kornelis Dijkstra, Tina Kretschmer, Rūta Savickaitė, René Veenstra

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Homophobic attitudes and behavior are a widespread problem among adolescents, but what the role of peer relationships such as friendships and antipathies is in shaping these attitudes remains unclear. Therefore, this study examined to what extent homophobic attitudes are influenced by friends' and foes' homophobic attitudes, and whether homophobic attitudes serve as a selection criterion for the formation of friendships and antipathies. Participants came from three Dutch high schools across two waves (wave 1 November 2014, wave 2 March/April 2015, ages 11-20, N = 1935, 51.5% girls). Stochastic actor-oriented models were estimated for testing hypotheses. The results showed that adolescents adjusted their homophobic attitudes to their friends' homophobic attitudes, but homophobic attitudes were not consistently related to friendship selection. Further, findings indicated that being dissimilar in homophobic attitudes increased the likelihood to dislike cross-sex peers. Together, the findings suggest that adolescents' homophobic attitudes were to some extent subject to peer influence, but homophobic attitudes did not steer who adolescents befriended or disliked.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2229-2245
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume49
Issue number11
Early online date13-Aug-2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2020

Keywords

  • Homophobic attitudes
  • Peer influence
  • Negative influence
  • Attitude dynamics
  • Stochastic actor-oriented models
  • GROUP-DYNAMICS
  • LANGUAGE USE
  • GAY MEN
  • BEHAVIOR
  • NETWORKS
  • SOCIALIZATION
  • LESBIANS
  • VICTIMIZATION
  • STEREOTYPES
  • AGGRESSION

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