Attitudes towards homosexuality among ethnic majority and minority adolescents in Western Europe: The role of ethnic classroom composition

Abstract

Ethnic minorities from more traditional countries tend to hold more conservative views towards homosexuality compared to the ethnic majority population in Western Europe. Assimilation theory predicts that this difference diminishes over time because of exposure and contact between these groups. The role of ethnic classroom composition in this process of cultural assimilation is poorly understood. Therefore, this article examines the role of the country of origin of adolescents and their classroom peers in the assimilation of attitudes towards homosexuality. Using two-wave panel data on 18,058 students in 867 classrooms in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, we find that the attitudes towards homosexuality in classroom peers’ country of origin are positively associated with attitudes towards homosexuality of respondents in the first wave but have no effect on subsequent changes in these attitudes over a two-year period. We find some variations in this association according to individual-level characteristics, but these results are not consistent across the countries that we study. Together, these results suggest that the classroom is an important socializing context in the formation of cultural values, and that its influence is relatively uniform across groups

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    Last time updated on 24/12/2022