Interracial Contact in South Africa Within the Nursing Context1


  • 1

    The assistance of Cheryl de la Rey and Alison Sampson, in implementing this research, is gratefully acknowledged. The author would also like to thank Jos Jaspars, and Don Foster for their comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this paper.

  • Funding for this research was provided by the Human Sciences Research Counceil (Grant No. TGV/08/P008). The views expressed in this work or the conclusions drawn are those of the author and should not be regarded as those of the Human Sciences Research Council or the Main Committee of the HSRC Investigation into Intergroup Relations.

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Dr. Gillian Finchilescu, Department of Experimental Psychology, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1, 3UD, United Kingdom.


Previous research on the effect of intergroup contact has highlighted the necessity for the contact to be of equal-status within a supportive environment. The South African apartheid system, with its active discouragement of such contact, presents an interesting context in which the effect of inter-racial contact may be examined. One hundred and thirteen nurses from four private hospitals took part in the study. Two of the hospitals had racially integrated training programs, and two trained one race group alone. A number of questionnaires were administered to the nurses in individual interviews. The responses indicated that nurses from the contact hospitals viewed the integration of nursing significantly more positively than did the nurses from the noncontact hospitals. However, trait evaluations of the nurses own and corresponding race group on the dimensions, personality and work ability suggested that negative intergroup attribution had not been eliminated by the contact.