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Students' Characteristics and the Peer-Influence Process

Maureen T. Hallinan and Richard A. Williams
Sociology of Education
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Apr., 1990), pp. 122-132
DOI: 10.2307/2112858
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112858
Page Count: 11
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Students' Characteristics and the Peer-Influence Process
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Abstract

Relying on Parsons's conceptualization of the influence process and using 20,000 friendship dyads from the High School and Beyond survey, the authors examine how characteristics of students and of students' close friends affect the students' college aspirations and attendance. This article describes their study, which focused on whether differences in the ascribed and achieved characteristics--gender, race, and other background characteristics, as well as track placement in high school--result in different peer-influence processes. It was found that the influence of close friends on educational aspirations and outcomes varies with the racial and gender composition of the friendship and that interracial friendships are beneficial to the aspirations of both black and white students.

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