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Contact between Catholic and Protestant schoolchildren in Northern Ireland


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge research support provided by the Russell Sage Foundation.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Rhiannon Turner, School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK BT7 1NN. E-mail:


This study explored segregation and sectarianism among children in integrated and non-integrated Northern Irish schools. Results revealed a substantial relationship between 2 types of intergroup contact—cross-group friendship and extended contact—and lower levels of prejudice. While cross-group friendships were associated with more positive intergroup relations via the mediating mechanisms of self-disclosure and empathy with the out-group, extended contact worked by eliciting positive perceived peer norms toward the out-group. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for intergroup relations among children in conflict societies.