Lars Leszczensky, Tobias Stark
Understanding the Causes and Consequences of Segregation in Youth’s Friendship Networks: Opportunities and Challenges for Research

Pp. 233-248 in: Peter F. Titzmann, Philipp Jugert (Eds.): Youth in Superdiverse Societies: Growing up with globalization, diversity, and acculturation. 2020. London: Routledge
[Studies in Adolescent Development]

Youth in modern Western countries grow up in diverse societies. Yet research shows that their friendship networks tend to be segregated along ethnic, racial, and religious lines. Understanding how and why such friendship segregation arises is necessary to eventually promote social integration. Research has shown that the composition and structure of friendship networks can influence the development of a wide range of individual attitudes and behavior. In this chapter, the authors show how social network analysis (SNA) advances our knowledge of the causes and consequences of segregation in youth’s friendship networks. They first highlight competing and complementary theoretical considerations regarding the emergence of friendship segregation. They then discuss methodological advantages of SNA over traditional approaches to obtain insights into such processes. After discussing key findings on the causes and consequences of network segregation, they close the chapter by pointing to open research questions and related challenges for future research.