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Multiracial youths show similar vulnerability to peer pressure as whites
Date:7/10/2012

Researchers who studied a large sample of middle- and high-school students in Washington state found that mixed-race adolescents are more similar to their white counterparts than previously believed.

Experts have thought that multiracial adolescents, the fastest growing youth group in the United States, use drugs and engage in violence more than their single-race peers. Racial discrimination and greater vulnerability to peer pressure have been blamed for these problems, due to the belief that as mixed-race youngsters struggle to fit in they become more likely to fall in with bad crowds.

Multiracial youth in the new study, by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Chicago, reported fewer behavioral problems than seen in previous studies. The findings are published in the July issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Youth who reported greater use of alcohol and instances of violent fights also reported having friends with similar problem behaviors. But when asked how likely they would be to cave to peer pressure, multi- and single-race participants did not differ.

Family background, including income level and parental marital status, also had a role. Multiracial youths who reported higher rates of problem behaviors were more likely to come from poor families.

"People usually portray multiracial children as facing greater challenges growing up than single-race children," said Yoonsun Choi, lead author and associate professor at the UChicago's School of Social Service Administration.

"What we're finding is that they do have an increased risk for problems with drugs and violence, but those problems aren't as extensive as what has been found before. Maybe there's a trend going on, where problems are declining for multiracial youth," she said.

The study suggests that prevention programs aimed to reduce the negative influences of peers will likely have a universal
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Contact: Molly McElroy
mollywmc@uw.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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