Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 10 Issue 3 (May/June 2000), Pages 171-251

Effects of contact and personality on intergroup attitudes of different professionals (pages 171-181)

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the effects of intergroup contact, personality, and demographic characteristics on the intergroup attitudes of police officers, medical doctors and nurses (N=421; 274 females, 147 males). Following the contact hypothesis, intergroup contact in and of itself was not expected to be sufficient for reducing intergroup prejudice, especially in unequal contacts between professionals and their clients. It was argued that the quality of contact required for the improvement of intergroup attitudes is not equal status or emotional closeness of the participants, but rather that of individuation and familiarity of the outgroup member. The results showed that both level of authoritarianism and individuation of an outgroup member affected intergroup attitudes across all types of contact. For authoritarianism, this result did not hold separately for males, but the individuation effect was very stable; those who knew an outgroup member only superficially held more negative intergroup attitudes than those who knew him or her well, even in unequal and non‐voluntary contacts, and even when controlling for authoritarianism, gender, education and professional field. The effect was non‐significant in voluntary contacts. No differences in intergroup attitudes were found between males and females or between the professional groups among males after controlling for authoritarianism. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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