The contact hypothesis revisited: black-white interaction and positive racial attitudes

Lee Sigelman, Susan Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

386 Scopus citations


The contact hypothesis — the idea that contact between members of different races fosters positive racial attitudes — has performed indifferently in research conducted over the past four decades, leading to a recommendation that the hypothesis be discarded and that attention turn to other sources of positive and negative racial attitudes. However, most of this research is now badly dated and focuses solely on the racial attitudes of whites. We present a new test of the contact hypothesis, drawing on a national survey of blacks and whites conducted in 1989. Analysis reveals that in several instances interracial contact is associated with more positive racial attitudes, especially among whites, and that some effects are appreciable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-795
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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