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Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2014 May 9;18(3):239-255. [Epub ahead of print]

Intergroup Anxiety: Theory, Research, and Practice.

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  • 1New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, USA


This article reviews studies of intergroup anxiety and places them in the context of a theoretical model that specifies categories of antecedents and consequences of intergroup anxiety. It is proposed that intergroup anxiety is comprised of three interrelated components: an affective component, a cognitive component, and a physiological component. The potential causes of intergroup anxiety include personality traits (e.g., social dominance orientation, attributional complexity), attitudes and related cognitions (e.g., negative expectations, stereotypes), personal experience (e.g., negative contact), and situational factors (e.g., the presence of linguistic barriers, structured vs. unstructured interactions). The potential consequences include attitudes and other cognitions (e.g., stereotypes, negative expectations), affect (e.g., fear, anger), and behavior (e.g., avoidance, negative behaviors). Theory and research on the reduction of intergroup anxiety (e.g., intergroup contact, direct or indirect cross-group friendships) are also presented. The discussion explores the implications of these studies for theory, research, and practice.

© 2014 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.


intergroup anxiety; intergroup attitudes; intergroup contact; intergroup relations

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