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The Role of Personality Factors in the Reduction of Intergroup Anxiety and Amelioration of Outgroup Attitudes via Intergroup Contact

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Abstract

Two studies investigated the role of personality factors in the amelioration of outgroup attitudes via intergroup contact. In study 1, the effect of extraversion on outgroup attitude operated via an increase in cross-group friendship, whereas openness to experience and agreeableness had a direct effect on outgroup attitude. In study 2, we included intergroup anxiety as a mediator explaining these relationships, and we ruled out ingroup friendship as a potential confound. We found that the relationships between openness to experience and agreeableness on the one hand and outgroup attitude on the other were mediated by reduced intergroup anxiety. In addition, the effect of extraversion on outgroup attitude operated via an increase in cross-group friendship that was in turn associated with lower levels of intergroup anxiety. Across both studies, the friendship–attitude relationship was stronger among those low in agreeableness and extraversion. We discuss the importance of integrating personality and situational approaches to prejudice reduction in optimizing the impact of contact-based interventions. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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