Intergroup Contact and Prejudice Between Dutch Majority and Muslim Minority Youth in The Netherlands

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Abstract

Objectives: This study deals with three relatively understudied issues in intergroup contact: negative contact, mediating mechanisms, and the minority perspective. Both direct and extended positive and negative contact experiences are included in the design. Intergroup anxiety is tested as a mediator between different forms of contact and prejudice, and status as Dutch majority or Muslim minority is used as a moderator. Method: A sample of 317 Dutch majority (47.6% female) and 369 Muslim minority (52.0% female) youth, ranging in age from 12 to 19 years completed self-reports about contact experiences, intergroup threat, and prejudice. Results: Results show that status as a Dutch majority or Muslim minority is a moderator in the relations between contact, intergroup anxiety, and prejudice. In the majority sample, all forms of direct and extended contact were related to prejudice and mediated by intergroup anxiety in the expected directions. In the Muslim minority sample, only positive contact was related to prejudice and mediated by intergroup anxiety in the expected direction. Conclusions: These findings underline that studies on intergroup relations should take both positive and negative contact experiences for intergroup attitudes into account as well as the majority or minority status of the groups involved. Moreover, the study suggests that partly different explanations may be needed for minority and majority groups for the role of intergroup contact in intergroup attitudes.

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