A new study by psychologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, finds that middle school students from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds feel safer, less lonely, and less bullied if they attend diverse schools. The survey also found that students who attended diverse schools where racial and ethnic groups were of relatively equal size reported more tolerance and less prejudice among the student body. They also reported that teachers tended to treat students more fairly and equally when the student body was diverse.
Jaana Juvonen, a professor of psychology at UCLA and the lead author of the study, noted that “when ethnic groups are of relatively equal size, there may be more of a balance of power. One or more large ethnic groups will be less likely to exert their influence over one or more small ethnic groups.”
The study also found that when students attended classes that were significantly less diverse than their school overall, the benefits of diversity disappeared.
The full study, “When and How Do Students Benefit From Ethnic Diversity in Middle School?” was published on the website of the journal Child Development. It may be accessed here.