Effects of Intergroup Conflict and Social Contact on Prejudice: The Mediating Role of Stereotypes and Evaluations


Ruth Gaunt, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bar-Ilan University, 52900 Ramat-Gan, Israel. E-mail: gauntr@mail.biu.ac.il


This study explored the mediating role of stereotypes and evaluations in the relationships between intergroup conflict, social contact, and behavioral intentions to engage in intergroup contact. The hypotheses, derived from realistic group conflict theory and intergroup contact theory, were tested on samples of Arab and Jewish high school students in the context of an ethno-racial intergroup conflict. As hypothesized, the less participants perceived a conflict between the groups, and the greater their past contact with out-group members, the more they were willing to engage in intergroup contact. Moreover, stereotypes and evaluations mediated these effects in the Jewish sample. The implications of these findings for the study of the mechanisms underlying prejudice are discussed.