Contact and Anxiety as Predictors of Bias Toward the Homeless1

Authors


  • 1

    The authors presented portions of this paper at the annual conference of the Western Psychological Association, Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 2003.

Chris Aberson, Department of Psychology, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521. E-mail: CLA18@humboldt.edu

Abstract

We examined contact and anxiety as predictors of attitudes toward the homeless and attributions for homelessness. Study 1 presents data on undergraduates' attitudes, Study 2 reports on student and nonstudent data from an Internet survey, and Study 3 examined attitudes of individuals who have been homeless at one time. Structural equation modeling and path analyses indicated that data fit our conceptual model well and that contact quality consistently predicted more positive attitudes and situational attributions for homelessness. However, contact quantity did not reliably predict attitudes or attributions, and the mediating role of anxiety was inconsistent across studies. We contrast results with findings regarding attitudes toward other types of out-groups and suggest reasons for why our findings differ.

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