Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

3-2015

Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Author's Keywords

Intergroup contact theory; Intergroup contact quality; Bosnia; Herzegovina

Abstract

Intergroup contact theory (Allport, 1954) holds that positive effects can occur when two or more groups come into contact with one another under specific circumstances. The quality of the contact has been shown to be a better predictor than contact quantity in producing positive results (Schwartz and Simmons, 2001; Viki, Culmer, Eller, & Abrams, 2006). The current study attempted to determine whether Allport's intergroup contact theory could be applied to intergroup anxiety, outgroup tolerance, and outgroup trust; more specifically, whether these three variables would have an effect on intergroup contact quality among the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and whether this effect would be moderated by age. Results revealed significant group differences between emerging adults and adults, in that adults reported significantly higher levels of intergroup anxiety and lower levels of outgroup tolerance and outgroup trust compared to emerging adults. Interestingly, there was no significant difference in intergroup contact quality between the two age groups. Contrary to our prediction, age was not a significant moderator. These findings confirm that intergroup anxiety, outgroup tolerance, and outgroup trust are essential elements leading to enhanced quality of contact between the diverse groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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