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Development of Ethnic, Racial, and National Prejudice in Childhood and Adolescence: A Multinational Meta-Analysis of Age Differences


  • This research was supported by the German Research Foundation Grant BE 3731/2-1. We would like to thank Linda R. Tropp (University of Massachusetts at Amherst), Kai J. Jonas (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands), and five unknown referees for their very helpful comments on earlier versions of this article, and Jonathan Harrow and Alison Benbow for their proofreading.

concerning this article should be addressed to Andreas Beelmann, Institute of Psychology, Department of Research Synthesis, Intervention and Evaluation, University of Jena, Humboldtstraße 26, 07743 Jena, Germany. Electronic mail may be sent to


This meta-analysis summarizes 113 research reports worldwide (121 cross-sectional and 7 longitudinal studies) on age differences in ethnic, racial, or national prejudice among children and adolescents. Overall, results indicated a peak in prejudice in middle childhood (5–7 years) followed by a slight decrease until late childhood (8–10 years). In addition to differences for the various operationalizations of prejudice, detailed findings revealed different age-related changes in prejudice toward higher versus lower status out-groups and positive effects of contact opportunities with the out-group on prejudice development. Results confirm that prejudice changes systematically with age during childhood but that no developmental trend is found in adolescence, indicating the stronger influence of the social context on prejudice with increasing age.