Extended intergroup friendships within social settings: The moderating role of initial outgroup attitudes
SourceGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations, 16, 6, (2013), pp. 752-770
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
Group Processes and Intergroup Relations
SubjectInequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
The current study hypothesized that extended intergroup friendships improve outgroup attitudes in particular for people with initially unfavorable outgroup attitudes, and for those without direct intergroup friendships. In contrast, building on structural balance theory, it was hypothesized that extended contact in small social settings may also be related to less favorable outgroup attitudes. Hypotheses were tested longitudinally among Dutch students (n = 661) who just entered multiethnic middle schools. Adopting concepts from social network analysis, an extended intergroup friendships measure was proposed which excludes direct intergroup friendships. Multilevel panel analyses showed that the effect of extended intergroup friendships with Turkish peers did not depend on whether adolescents had direct Turkish friends. Extended intergroup friendships were only related to improved outgroup attitudes for students with relatively unfavorable outgroup attitudes. Additional analyses show, in line with structural balance theory, that extended friendships within classrooms can also be related to outgroup attitudes negatively for students with favorable initial attitudes.
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