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Direct and Extended Friendship Effects on Minority and Majority Children’s Interethnic Attitudes: A Longitudinal Study


  • This research was supported by a Ph.D. fellowship of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (GRK 622; International Research Training Group “Conflict and Cooperation Between Social Groups”) and a Post-Doc Fellowship (PTDC/PSI/71271/2006) from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia held by the first author. Thanks are extended to the children, teachers, and principals of the Sperberschule, the Grundschule St. Leonhard, and the Ludwig-Uhland-Schule for participating. We thank Christopher Cohrs and Fátima Salgueiro for methodological advice and Natascha de Hoog, Philipp Jugert, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

concerning this article should be addressed to Allard R. Feddes, CIS, Centre for Social Research and Intervention, Av. Forças Armadas, Edíf. ISCTE, 1649-026 Lisbon, Portugal. Electronic mail may be sent to


Longitudinal direct and extended cross-ethnic friendship effects on out-group evaluations among German (majority status, N = 76) and Turkish (minority status, N = 73) children (age 7–11 years) in ethnically heterogeneous elementary schools were examined at the beginning and end of the school year (time lag: 7 months). The results showed that among majority status children, but not minority status children, direct cross-ethnic friendship predicted over time positive out-group evaluations. This association was partly mediated by perceived social norms about cross-ethnic friendship relations. No longitudinal effects of extended cross-ethnic friendship were found. These results suggest that in ethnically heterogeneous contexts, direct friendship is more effective in changing intergroup attitudes than extended friendship and that social status moderates direct friendship effects.