Making Best Friends From Other Groups and Mental Health of Chinese Adolescents

Xiaochen ZHOU, Jia LI, Qi WANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Friendship may be significantly associated with adolescents’ psychological well-being. Among various kinds of friendships, this study investigated two types of intergroup friendships among Chinese adolescents, specifically cross-hukou-location and cross-gender friendship. Fixed-effects modeling with a two-wave national dataset—the China Education Panel Survey (CEPS)—was performed to evaluate the relationship between within-individual changes in cross-hukou-location friendship, cross-gender friendship, and mental health status (N = 5,297, boys: 50.18%, average age: 12.92 at wave 1). The relationship pattern among different genders was also explored. The results showed that cross-hukou-location friendship is positively associated with male adolescents’ mental health status. The cross-gender relationship is negatively related to mental health in the overall sample and female subsample. The findings not only emphasized the vital role of intergroup contact but also shed light on understanding the role of gender in intergroup friendship-making and the relationship with psychological well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-147
Number of pages25
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the public dataset—China Education Panel Survey (CEPS;, designed by National Survey Research Center, Renmin University of China. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • best friends
  • cross-gender
  • cross-hukou-location
  • gender difference
  • mental health


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