A large-scale test of the link between intergroup contact and support for social change
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Published Version: Hässler, T., Ullrich, J., Bernardino, M. et al. A large-scale test of the link between intergroup contact and support for social change. Nat Hum Behav 4, 380–386 (2020). [https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0815-z]
SponsorshipSwiss Bilateral Program of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI); Fondecyt (1161371); Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (FONDAP 15130009); Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Research (FONDAP 15110006); FWO Odysseus grant (G.O.E66.14N); ESRC commissioning (403006662); Serbian ministry of education, science and technological development (179018); Foundation for Polish Science (TEAM), co-financed by the EU ERDF (“Language as a Cure” Project); HSE University Basic Research Program and the Russian Academic Excellence Project '5-100'.
Guided by the early findings of social scientists, practitioners have long advocated for greater contact between groups to reduce prejudice and increase social cohesion. Recent work, however, suggests that intergroup contact can undermine support for social change toward greater equality, especially among disadvantaged group members. Using a large and heterogeneous dataset (N=12,997 individuals from 69 countries), we demonstrate that intergroup contact and support for social change toward greater equality are positively associated among members of advantaged groups (ethnic majorities and cis-heterosexuals), but negatively associated among disadvantaged groups (ethnic minorities and sexual and gender minorities). Specification curve analysis revealed important variation in the size—and at times, direction—of correlations, depending on how contact and support for social change were measured. This allowed us to identify one type of support for change, willingness to work in solidarity, that is positively associated with intergroup contact among both advantaged and disadvantaged group members.