How and When Does Contact Between Advantaged and Disadvantaged Groups Predict Support for Social Change?

Hässler, T. (University of Zurich), Ullrich, J. (University of Zurich), Bernadino, M. (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), Shnabel, N. (Tel-Aviv University), Valdenegro, D. (University of Leeds), Van Laar, C. (University of Leuven), Mugnol Ugarte, L. (D’OR Institute for Research and Education, Brazil)

How does contact between members of advantaged and disadvantaged groups predict their support for social change toward greater equality? Using a wide net of measures, this study surveyed participants from 69 countries (N = 12,997). Results supported the preregistered hypotheses that intergroup contact is positively associated with support for social change among ethnic majorities and (cis-)heterosexuals, but negatively associated with support for social change among ethnic minorities and sexual and gender minorities. Specification curve analysis revealed intriguing variation in the size—and at times, direction—of effects, depending on how contact and support for social change were measured. Overall, this study showed that although contact has demobilizing effects among disadvantaged groups, it may facilitate social change by promoting people’s willingness to work in solidarity.


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