Austin, A., Rice, A., & Vincent, S. (2021). Examining likeness among secondary agriculture youth. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(2), 66-82.

Likeness, also known as homophily, describes the tendency for individuals to seek out others who are
socially similar to themselves. As a society, we are attracted to “like” behaviors, but subconsciously
the value placed on likeness can lead to undesirable outcomes including segregation, reduced diversity
in peer groups, and narrower social interactions. Homophily behaviors present major limitations to
multicultural group interaction and can negatively impact the recruitment and retention of diverse
groups. The purpose of this study was to determine if homophily behavior exists among Kentucky
secondary agricultural education youth toward three binary variables: a) farm background/non-farm
athlete; b) Black student/white student; and c) gay student/straight student. Senior level high school
students throughout the state were randomly assigned two, of eight, mock student profiles to determine
if they were “like” them or “different” than them. Student participants reported homophily-likeness
toward students who were white and perceived differences in likeness from students who were Black or
gay. Further analysis suggested that students were open to likeness if the mock student profile reflected
a minimum of two similar variables to their own demographic. Continued critical research,
conversation, and professional growth in homophily is necessary to avoid particular group extraction
and to promote inclusion and diversity initiatives in secondary agricultural education.

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