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The Role of Inclusive and Exclusive Victim Consciousness in Predicting Intergroup Attitudes: Findings from Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC

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Abstract

The present research examined the differential relationship between distinct construals of collective victimhood—specifically, inclusive and exclusive victim consciousness—and intergroup attitudes in the context and aftermath of mass violence. Three surveys in Rwanda (N= 842), Burundi (N= 1,074), and Eastern DRC (N= 1,609) provided empirical support for the hypothesis that while exclusive victim consciousness predicts negative intergroup attitudes, inclusive victim consciousness is associated with positive, prosocial intergroup attitudes. These findings were significant when controlling for age, gender, urban/rural residence, education, personal victimization, and ingroup superiority. Additionally, exclusive victim consciousness mediated the effects of ingroup superiority on negative intergroup attitudes. These findings have important theoretical implications for research on collective victimhood as well as practical implications for intergroup relations in regions emerging from violent conflict.

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