Subjective social status and intergroup attitudes among ethnic majority and minority children in Portugal

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Abstract

A measure of subjective social status (SSS) was examined among high (White), and low (Black and Roma) ethnic status children in Portugal within a developmental design including 6–8-year-old and 9–12-year-old children. White children favoured their in-group over the Black and Roma out-groups on the SSS measure, social preferences and positive as well as negative trait attributions. Generally, the Black and Roma showed equal SSS, preferences and trait attribution for their in-group and the high status White out-group, but not the other low-status out-group. With age White children generally demonstrated higher SSS for Black and Roma, preferred them more and attributed more positive traits. For low-status groups, an age effect was found only for Black children who preferred the Roma more with age and attributed more positive traits. Changes on preferences and trait attribution depending on age-group were mediated by SSS. It is concluded that minority group's SSS does not parallel the objective status hierarchy but, rather, is a dynamic reorganisation of group's relative positions serving strategies to cope with their minority condition.

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