Positive and Negative Intergroup Contact Increase as a Function of Increased Contact Opportunities, but So Does Outgroup Rejection

Kotzur, P. F. (University of Osnabrück, Germany), Wagner, U. (University of Marburg, Germany)

In this research, we investigated the dynamics of increased opportunities for contact with forced migrants, positive and negative contact experiences, and outgroup rejection with two three-wave longitudinal studies (Study 1, N = 183; Study 2 N = 758) using latent growth curve and parallel process analyses. In both studies, the rejection of forced migrants increased with increased contact opportunities. Although the frequency of positive and negative intergroup contact increased with increased opportunities, these changes were largely unrelated to the increases in outgroup rejection. Outgroup rejection increased less when participants had frequent positive, or frequent negative intergroup contact experiences prior to increased contact opportunities, although not consistently across all rejection domains we examined. Similarly, participants rejecting forced migrants less before contact opportunities increased reported more positive, and less negative contact experiences later, yet not robustly across rejection variables and studies. This was the first study that tested these postulations using latent growth curve and parallel process modelling. Our findings highlight that increased contact opportunities can contribute to increased outgroup rejection, and that further mechanisms beyond mere frequency of positive and negative intergroup contact need to be considered for explaining the increases in outgroup rejection that follow from increased contact opportunities.


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