To date, little is known about the prevalence and influence of close friendships across religious and worldview differences (i.e., “interworldview friendships”). How common are such friendships among U.S. college students? Are students more likely to have at least one close interworldview friendship after their first year on campus? In what ways do these relationships affect student attitudes and personal growth? And how can colleges and universities support the development of these relationships?
The Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) is the first national study of its kind to address these critical questions about college students’ friendship formation across religious and worldview differences. The study follows a cohort of students who attended 122 diverse colleges and universities between 2015 and 2019, tracking changes in interfaith learning and development—as well as trends in their friendships—over time. This report reflects 7,194 students who responded to the first two waves of IDEALS in 2015 and 2016.