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Prejudice against Muslims: anxiety as a mediator between intergroup contact and attitudes, perceived group variability and behavioural intentions

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Hutchison, Paul; Rosenthal, Harriet E.S.

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Abstract Numerous studies have reported an increase in prejudice against Muslims in recent years. Less research has investigated how this increase might be stemmed and relations between non-Muslims and Muslims improved. In this article, we address prejudice against Muslims from the perspective of intergroup contact theory. We conducted two cross-sectional studies to examine the relationship between non-Muslims’ experiences of contact with Muslims and their intergroup anxiety, outgroup attitudes, perceptions of outgroup variability and intergroup behavioural intentions. Study 1 (N = 58) showed that frequent high-quality contact with Muslims predicted more positive outgroup attitudes, more perceived outgroup variability and more positive behavioural intentions. These associations were mediated by intergroup anxiety. Study 2 (N = 60) replicated these effects and additionally showed that anxiety mediates the influence of extended contact on the same outcome measures. Discussion focuses on the implications of the results for strategies aimed at improving relations between non-Muslims and Muslims.
Keywords Islam; Muslim
Classification Social Psychology; Social Problems
Free Keywords Prejudice; Contact; Anxiety; Discrimination
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 40-61
Journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34 (2010) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)