We wish to express our gratitude to the Templeton Foundation, for their generous funding of part of the work reported here, and to M. Poole for his help with the neighborhood violence index used in Study 2. The term, The Troubles is now widely understood to refer to contemporary problems in Northern Ireland; it has, in fact, been used to refer to unrest in Ireland since at least 1880, and James Joyce's Ulysses (published in 1922) refers to “Times of the troubles” (Oxford English Dictionary).
Intergroup Contact, Forgiveness, and Experience of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland
Article first published online: 14 FEB 2006
Journal of Social Issues
Volume 62, Issue 1, pages 99–120, March 2006
How to Cite
Hewstone, M., Cairns, E., Voci, A., Hamberger, J. and Niens, U. (2006), Intergroup Contact, Forgiveness, and Experience of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Journal of Social Issues, 62: 99–120. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2006.00441.x
- Issue published online: 14 FEB 2006
- Article first published online: 14 FEB 2006
Two studies used random sample surveys to test the “contact hypothesis” on intergroup attitudes of Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. In Study 1, archival data from two different surveys in 1989 (N = 310 Catholics, 422 Protestants) and 1991 (N = 319 Catholics, 478 Protestants) showed that contact was positively related to attitudes toward denominational mixing. Study 2 (N = 391 Catholics, 647 Protestants) explored predictors of intergroup forgiveness, and also showed that intergroup contact was positively related to outgroup attitudes, perspective-taking, and trust (even among those who had a worse experience of sectarian conflict). These studies indicate that research in peace psychology can provide a deeper understanding of the conflict in Northern Ireland and, in due course, contribute to its resolution.