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Confidence in Contact: A New Perspective on Promoting Cross-Group Friendship Among Children and Adolescents

Cameron, Lindsey, Turner, Rhiannon N. (2016) Confidence in Contact: A New Perspective on Promoting Cross-Group Friendship Among Children and Adolescents. Social Issues and Policy Review, 10 (1). pp. 212-246. (doi:10.1111/sipr.12023) (KAR id:58409)

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Intergroup contact theory (Allport, 1954) proposes that positive interactions between members of different social groups can improve intergroup relations. Contact should be especially effective in schools, where opportunities may exist to engage cooperatively with peers from different backgrounds and develop cross-group friendships. In turn, these friendships have numerous benefits for intergroup relations. However, there is evidence that children do not always engage in cross-group friendships, often choosing to spend time with same-group peers, even in diverse settings. We argue that in order to capitalise on the potential impact of contact in schools for promoting harmonious intergroup relations, a new model is needed that places confidence in contact at its heart. We present an empirically-driven theoretical model of intergroup contact that outlines the conditions that help to make young people ‘contact ready’, preparing them for successful, sustained intergroup relationships by giving them the confidence that they can engage in contact successfully. After evaluating the traditional approach to intergroup contact in schools, we present our theoretical model which outlines predictors of cross-group friendships that enhance confidence in and readiness for contact. We then discuss theory-driven, empirically tested interventions that could potentially promote confidence in contact. Finally, we make specific recommendations for practitioners and policy makers striving to promote harmonious intergroup relations in the classroom.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/sipr.12023
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Lindsey Cameron
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2016 10:06 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Cameron, Lindsey:
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