Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Recent evidence suggests that both direct and indirect friendship with outgroup members (knowledge of ingroup members' friendship with outgroup members) can reduce prejudice toward the outgroup. Two surveys of cross-community relationships in Northern Ireland, using a student sample (N = 341) and a representative sample of the general population (N = 735), tested whether (a) direct and indirect friendships had generalized effects on both prejudice and perceived outgroup variability and (b) reduced anxiety about future encounters with outgroup members mediated such relationships. Structural equation modeling confirmed that, in both samples, direct and indirect cross-group friendships between Catholics and Protestants were associated with reduced prejudice toward the religious outgroup and increased perceived outgroup variability, via an anxiety-reduction mechanism. It is argued that emerging generalization hypotheses help to integrate both cognition and affect and interpersonal and intergroup approaches to contact.

Original publication




Journal article


Pers Soc Psychol Bull

Publication Date





770 - 786


Adolescent, Adult, Anxiety, Catholicism, Cross-Sectional Studies, Data Collection, Female, Friends, Humans, Male, Northern Ireland, Prejudice, Protestantism, Social Conditions