There is equivocal evidence on how being a child in a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) immigrant family affects internalizing symptoms such as anxiety. This cross-sectional study examined the relationships between peer friendships and anxiety/depression symptoms in BAME immigrant adolescents (IA) and white native adolescents (WNA). Method: Sixty-two adolescents from the UK (IA = 26, WNA = 36, mean age = 14 years) were assessed on close friendship, social competence, social anxiety, and depression. Immigrant family parents (n
= 23) were also assessed on cultural orientation. There were no significant differences in anxiety and depression between groups. Bayes factors supported the conclusion that the groups did not differ. However, IA and WNA groups had different patterns of associations between close friendship/social competence and anxiety and depression symptoms. Close friendships were more strongly associated with lower anxiety/depression in IAs than WNAs, and social competence was more strongly associated with lower anxiety/depression in WNAs than IAs. Moderation analyses indicated that the relationship between close friendship and social and separation anxiety was significantly moderated by ethnic group, as was the relationship between social competence and generalized anxiety. The findings suggest that social and separation anxiety are more strongly associated with close friendships for BAME immigrant children than for non-immigrant adolescents. As such, activities that help BAME immigrant children to foster close relationships may have positive effects on their well-being.
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