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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Nov;95(5):1080-94. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.95.5.1080.

With a little help from my cross-group friend: reducing anxiety in intergroup contexts through cross-group friendship.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, CA 94720-5050, USA.


The authors induced cross-group friendship between Latinos/as and Whites to test the effects of cross-group friendship on anxiety in intergroup contexts. Cross-group friendship led to decreases in cortisol reactivity (a hormonal correlate of stress; W. R. Lovallo & T. L. Thomas, 2000) over 3 friendship meetings among participants high in race-based rejection sensitivity (R. Mendoza-Denton, G. Downey, V. J. Purdie, A. Davis, & J. Pietrzak, 2002) and participants high in implicit prejudice (A. G. Greenwald, B. A. Nosek, & M. R. Banaji, 2003). Cross-group partners' prior intergroup contact moderated the relationship between race-based rejection sensitivity and cortisol reactivity. Following the manipulation, participants kept daily diaries of their experiences in an ethnically diverse setting. Implicitly prejudiced participants initiated more intergroup interactions during the diary period after making a cross-group friend. Participants who had made a cross-group friend reported lower anxious mood during the diary period, which compensated for greater anxious mood among participants high in race-based rejection sensitivity. These findings provide experimental evidence that cross-group friendship is beneficial for people who are likely to experience anxiety in intergroup contexts.

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