Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

12-2014

Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Author's Keywords

Ingroup identification; Contact hypothesis; Outgroup trust; Intergroup forgiveness; Reconciliation; Bosnia; Herzegovina; Groupness

Abstract

After the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, it was necessary to find a way for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s three main ethnic groups to live together again. The Dayton Peace Agreement was thought to be the answer. Signed in 1995, it provided a new framework for the country, establishing the Republika Srpska for the Serbs, the Brcko District as an autonomous region, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was further divided into cantons between the Bosnian Croats and the Bosniaks. With such a political structure, it was of interest to survey the quantity of intergroup contact between the groups today, inspired by Allport’s Contact Hypothesis. Group divisions propelled the conflict in the 1990s and now, nearly twenty years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, it is vital to understand where the country stands in regards to the peace it had attempted to establish. Previous empirical research pointed to the importance of ingroup identification, outgroup trust and intergroup forgiveness as variables that would affect quantity of contact. Specifically, it was predicted that negative correlations will exist between ingroup identification and trust, forgiveness and contact but positive correlations will exist between trust, forgiveness and contact. Community background and age were tested for a moderating effect on the relationship between the variables. Surveys were distributed and the results indicated that ingroup identification was indeed negatively correlated but only with contact quantity. Positive correlations did exist between trust, forgiveness and contact, as predicted. For the moderated regression model, it was found that community background, ingroup identification and outgroup trust were all significant but forgiveness was not. Implications are discussed and further research, particularly on the role of forgiveness, is needed.

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