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Cross-Community Contact, Perceived Status Differences, and Intergroup Attitudes in Northern Ireland: The Mediating Roles of Individual-level versus Group-level Threats and the Moderating Role of Social Identification

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We tested a model which examined the relationship between contact quantity and quality, relative ingroup status, and intergroup attitudes in Northern Ireland. Intergroup anxiety was considered an individual-level mediator and realistic and symbolic threat as group-level mediators in the model. We examined the idea that the strength of ingroup identification moderates the predictive power of individual- versus group-level variables. Both contact and relative ingroup status predicted anxiety and perceived threats to the ingroup, which were significant mediators in the model. Our results also suggest that while anxiety predicts attitudes for low but not high identifiers, symbolic threats to the ingroup are more important for high than for low identifiers. There was also some evidence indicating that status perceptions moderate contact effects. We discuss these results in terms of their implications for intergroup relations in Northern Ireland.
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Keywords: Northern Ireland; contact; identification; status differences; threat

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Oxford 2: University of Texas at Arlington 3: University of Ulster 4: Phillips University of Marburg

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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