Concluding Remarks

There continues to be only a small body of developmental research on the friendships of racial and ethnic minorities (Fitzgerald et al., 1995; Garcia Coll et al., 2000, 1996; Graham, 1992, 1994). This is especially troubling given the centrality of peer relationships during adolescence. Moreover, few studies have examined the ways in which contexts or settings shape adolescent friendships (and vice versa) or the ways in which friendships are experienced within diverse contexts. Thus, longitudinal research that considers competing and corresponding socializing messages originating in and reinforced by the family, peer, school, and neighborhood contexts is critical (Phelan, Davidson, & Cao, 1991). Bronfenbrenner's (1977; 1979) ecological model of human behavior provides a framework that is particularly suitable for understanding the ways in which contexts influence friendships or how youth experience varying contexts and/or relationships. In order to adequately understand the development of friendships among adolescents, future research must move beyond uni-dimensional, uni-methodological, and uni-population approaches to explore the contextual correlates, characteristics, and quality of friendships among adolescents from ethnically, socio-economically, and geographically diverse backgrounds using multimethod approaches.

The Polarity Path

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