Children's perceptions of cross-race and same-race peer relationships

Frances Alexandria Dumas Hines, Purdue University


One aspect of children's peer relationships that merits investigation is children's relationships with cross-race peers. The present study examined the extent to which children believed relationships between African-American and Caucasian children varied with respect to intimacy and liking. Third and fourth grade Caucasian children completed the Peer Relationship Questionnaire, which assessed the degree to which they felt different types of peer relationships could exist. They completed two rating tasks that assessed cross-race peer relationship in terms of friendship, liking, and agreeableness. Participants also answered questions about their actual cross-race peer relationships. The structure of the Peer Relationship Questionnaire was first assessed by a factor analysis that revealed two distinct factors: liking and antagonism. Results indicated that children perceived relationships with peers as characterized more by liking than by antagonism, however, there were no effects due to race. Correlations between ratings of pictures of African-American peers on friendship, liking, and agreeableness, and assessments of actual cross-race peers were significant only between friendship ratings and intimacy with actual cross-race peers. Results from the question that assessed similarity between peers indicated that Caucasian children believed two African-American children were more similar than an African-American child and a Caucasian child, or two Caucasian children.




Musser, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Social psychology

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