Change in Friendship Homophily: A German Israeli Comparison of Adolescent Immigrants

Peter F. Titzmann, Rainer K. Silbereisen, Gustavo S. Mesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This longitudinal study investigated friendship homophily (i.e., the preference for intra-ethnic over inter-ethnic friends) among immigrant adolescents in Israel and Germany. Based on acculturation theories and known differences between Israel and Germany in the establishment of Russian-speaking immigrant communities in these countries, it was hypothesized that levels and rates of change in friendship homophily would differ. Associations between context- and acculturation-related variables and levels and rates of change in adolescent friendship homophily were also tested. The sample consisted of 877 Russian Jewish and 358 ethnic German Diaspora migrant adolescents (i.e., migrants returning to the country of their ancestors from the former Soviet Union). Results confirmed higher levels and a less pronounced decrease of friendship homophily in Israel as compared to Germany. Especially acculturation-related variables were found to be best at predicting intercept and slope of friendship homophily. Findings also showed that differences in levels and rates of change in adolescent friendship homophily between both countries could be explained by language use; thus, using the new host language more often appeared to be a crucial variable for lower levels of friendship homophily. Overall, results suggest very similar adaptation processes toward lower friendship homophily in the two countries but at a different pace over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-428
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was part of the project “The Impact of Social and Cultural Adaptation of Juvenile Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union in Israel and Germany on Delinquency and Deviant Behavior,” principal investigators Germany: Rainer K. Silbereisen, Eva Schmitt-Rodermund; Israel: Gideon Fishman, Gustavo Mesch, Zvi Eisikovits; Funding: German Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP C 4.1). We thank our colleagues for the cooperation and fruitful discussions.


  • acculturation
  • adolescent immigrants
  • friendship homophily
  • longitudinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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