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Keywords:

  • intergroup contact;
  • group status;
  • integrated threat theory;
  • prejudice;
  • India

Abstract

In the context of Hindu–Muslim relations in India, the present study (N = 87) utilized Integrated Threat Theory (Stephan & Stephan, 2000) to examine the mediating roles of intergroup anxiety, realistic and symbolic threats and the moderating role of group membership (Hindu vs. Muslim) in the relationships between cross-community contact, relative in-group status and prejudice. Overall, intergroup anxiety and realistic, but not symbolic, threat emerged as proximal predictors of prejudice and partial mediators between the predictor and criterion variables. But these findings were qualified by majority (Hindu) versus minority (Muslim) group membership. As predicted, while symbolic threat was a predictor of prejudice for Hindus, realistic threat was a paramount predictor for Muslims. In-group status was as a significant predictor for low-status minority group only. The results are discussed with reference to their potential implications for future research and interventions aimed at improving intergroup relations. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.