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Recent research has shown that peers influence ethnic-racial identity (ERI) development during
early adolescence. Arguments based on social identity theory (SIT), however, suggest that only
same-ethnic but not cross-ethnic friends are important for ERI development. Using longitudinal
social network analysis, we examined peer influence of both same- and cross-ethnic friends on
ERI attachment and private regard. Data were drawn from six ethnically diverse schools in
Western Germany (N = 1,349; Mage = 13.3). Our results provide empirical evidence for early
adolescents’ ERI being influenced by same- but less by cross-ethnic friends. Considering peers’
ethnicity therefore is crucial for understanding peer influence on ERI development.
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