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Keywords:

  • secondary transfer effect;
  • intergroup anxiety;
  • perspective taking;
  • prejudice reduction;
  • social distance;
  • generalised prejudice

ABSTRACT

We conducted a field study to investigate the secondary transfer effect of intergroup contact, consisting in the generalisation of the positive effects of intergroup contact to outgroups uninvolved in the contact situation. Italian secondary school students (N = 175) filled out a questionnaire; the effects of prior contact were statistically controlled. Results showed that contact with immigrants improved attitudes toward them. In turn, these attitudes generalised to attitudes toward two dissimilar outgroups not directly involved in contact: disabled and homosexuals. Notably, we found evidence for a secondary transfer effect of intergroup anxiety and perspective taking, which generalised from immigrants to the disabled and homosexuals. Evidence was found for the mediating role of intergroup attitudes, intergroup anxiety and perspective taking. The theoretical and practical implications of findings are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.