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Br J Soc Psychol. 2008 Sep;47(Pt 3):481-95. Epub 2007 Sep 7.

Precursors and mediators of intergroup reconciliation in Northern Ireland: a new model.

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Department of Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK.


We examined social psychological factors contributing to the restoration of the intergroup relationship between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. A theoretical model of reconciliation orientation (ROM) was developed, with intergroup forgiveness and subjective evaluation of past violence as the main precursors of that orientation. Data from a Northern Irish sample (N=318) validated and extended the model. Forgiveness and evaluation of past violence were predicted by 'competitive victimhood' (a belief in having suffered more than the out-group), negatively and positively, respectively. These associations were fully accounted for by the strength of identification with the in-group and trust in the out-group. Empathy functioned mainly as a direct predictor of forgiveness. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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