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Intergroup Attitudes of European American Children Attending Ethnically Homogeneous Schools


  • This work was supported by a Grant from the National Science Foundation (BCS0346717) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1R01HD04121-01) awarded to the second author, and a graduate research Grant from the Department of Human Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, awarded to the first author. We thank Nancy Margie and Stefanie Sinno for comments on the manuscript, and Suzanne Lebida, Anita Mazzocchi, Tiffany Puckett, and Nicole Putnam-Frenchik for assistance with data collection, data entry, and coding. The data presented in this paper were collected in partial fulfillment for the requirements of the first author's doctoral dissertation. Portions of this project were presented at the annual meeting of the Jean Piaget Society, June 2004, Toronto, Ontario, and at the biennial convention of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, June 2004, Washington, DC.

concerning this article should be addressed to Melanie Killen, Department of Human Development, 3304 Benjamin Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-1131, USA Electronic mail may be sent to or Heidi McGlothlin,


Intergroup attitudes were assessed in European American 1st-grade (M=6.99 years, SD=0.32) and 4th-grade (M=10.01 years, SD=0.36) children (N=138) attending ethnically homogeneous schools to test hypotheses about racial biases and interracial friendships. An Ambiguous Situations Task and an Intergroup Contact Assessment were administered to all participants. Unlike previous findings with European American children attending heterogeneous schools, children rated minority perpetrators more negatively than majority perpetrators, and friendship as less likely when a minority than a majority perpetrator was portrayed. These findings suggest that intergroup contact contributes to racial bias in children's interpretations of peer dyadic encounters and to judgments about interracial friendships.