Co-ethnic and inter-ethnic friendships in adolescence: Differences in quality, conflict, and problem solving

Cecilia Francisca Villalobos Carrasco, Ibis Marlene Álvarez Valdivia, Elizabeth Vaquera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


© 2017, E-flow PDF Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia. All rights reserved. In recent years, the mass arrival of foreign population of school age in Catalonia has increased cultural diversity in the classroom. In this context, friends are an important support that contributes to better integration. The aim of this study was to describe and compare inter-ethnic and co-ethnic friendship relations in terms of their friendship quality, conflict, and problem solving strategies. The sample is drawn from secondary school students in schools with significant presence of immigrants. Ninety students in 45 friendship dyads participated in a semi-structured interview. In total, the sample includes 20 dyads of co-ethnic friendships and 25 dyads of inter-ethnic friendships. Results show that for co-ethnic dyads the most important friendship values are trust and companionship. Among inter-ethnic friendships it is trust and support. In co-ethnic dyads conflict occurs due to disagreements that result in anger or sadness. Inter-ethnic dyads are similar in their reports of conflict, but they also emphasize lack of loyalty as a reason of conflict. Both types of dyads use similar strategies for conflict resolution: to talk about what happened, which brings them a sense of relief and comfort, which in turn increases ease and wellbeing. These results unveil the need to promote spaces for integration that can generate dyadic friendship relations in educational contexts of cultural diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-120
JournalEducacion XX1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Adolescents
  • Conflict
  • Friendship
  • Immigrants
  • Intercultural communication
  • Peer relationship
  • Secondary education


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