A large-scale test of the link between intergroup contact and support for social change

Tabea Hässler, Johannes Ullrich, Michelle Bernardino, Nurit Shnabel, Colette Van Laar, Daniel Valdenegro, Simone Sebben, Linda R. Tropp, Emilio Paolo Visintin, Roberto González, Ruth K. Ditlmann, Dominic Abrams, Hema Preya Selvanathan, Marija Branković, Stephen Wright, Jorina von Zimmermann, Michael Pasek, Anna Lisa Aydin, Iris Žeželj, Adrienne PereiraNóra Anna Lantos, Mario Sainz, Andreas Glenz, Hana Oberpfalzerová, Michal Bilewicz, Anna Kende, Olga Kuzawinska, Sabine Otten, Edona Maloku, Masi Noor, Pelin Gul, Jessica Pistella, Roberto Baiocco, Margareta Jelic, Evgeny Osin, Orly Bareket, Dinka Corkalo Biruski, Jonathan E. Cook, Maneeza Dawood, Lisa Droogendyk, Angélica Herrera Loyo, Kaltrina Kelmendi, Luiza Mugnol Ugarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Guided by the early findings of social scientists, practitioners have long advocated for greater contact between groups to reduce prejudice and increase social cohesion. Recent work, however, suggests that intergroup contact can undermine support for social change towards greater equality, especially among disadvantaged group members. Using a large and heterogeneous dataset (12,997 individuals from 69 countries), we demonstrate that intergroup contact and support for social change towards greater equality are positively associated among members of advantaged groups (ethnic majorities and cis-heterosexuals) but negatively associated among disadvantaged groups (ethnic minorities and sexual and gender minorities). Specification-curve analysis revealed important variation in the size—and at times, direction—of correlations, depending on how contact and support for social change were measured. This allowed us to identify one type of support for change—willingness to work in solidarity— that is positively associated with intergroup contact among both advantaged and disadvantaged group members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-386
Number of pages7
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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