In early adolescence, when forming other-gender friends is developmentally normative, gender-based discrimination may inhibit youth's motivation and ability to form other-gender friends. Our aims were to 1) examine gender discrimination among gender- and racially/ethnically-diverse youth and 2) assess whether gender discrimination was associated with changes in proportion of other-gender friends across middle school. Middle school students (N = 1386; 50% female; 51% Latinx) reported levels of perceived gender discrimination. Participants nominated up to 10 friends, used to calculate proportion of other-gender friends. Using advanced longitudinal modeling, we found that gender discrimination was relatively low, though also quite variable. Youth experiencing higher gender discrimination early in middle school increased less in the proportion of other-gender friends across middle school, relative to youth experiencing lower levels of gender discrimination. Results support the notion that understanding youth's subjective experiences of gender discrimination and the social consequences of gender discrimination is critically important.
- Gender discrimination
- Other-gender friends
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology