How intergroup friendship works: A longitudinal study of friendship effects on outgroup attitudes


Rhiannon N. Turner, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK.



Cross-sectional research has shown that frequency of self-disclosure to outgroup members mediates the positive relationship between intergroup friendship and outgroup attitudes. The current research investigated the relationship between self-disclosure and attitudes in more depth. New undergraduate students were asked to nominate an ingroup or outgroup friend and then report the intimacy of their disclosures to them, their anxiety and attitudes towards a series of social groups, in the first week of the semester and 6 weeks later. Intimacy of disclosure predicted more positive attitudes towards outgroups over time, but this association was only found among participants who nominated an outgroup friend. In the ingroup friend condition, a negative association was found. These associations were mediated by general intergroup anxiety. These relationships highlight the importance of integrating theories of interpersonal and intergroup relations when investigating intergroup contact. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.