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Two studies tested the prediction that more positive intergroup contact would be associated with reduced aggressive intergroup action tendencies, an effect predicted to occur indirectly via reduced intergroup threat perceptions, and over and above well-established effects of contact on intergroup attitudes. Study 1, using data based on a cross-section of the general population of eight European countries (France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and the UK; N = 7,042), examined this hypothesis in the context of aggressive action tendencies towards immigrants. Study 2, using longitudinal data obtained from a general population sample in Northern Ireland, considered effects on aggressive action tendencies between ethno-religious groups in conflict. Both studies confirmed our predictions, showing that while perceived threat was associated with greater intergroup aggressive tendencies, positive intergroup contact was indirectly associated with reduced aggressive action tendencies, via reduced intergroup threat. Findings are discussed in terms of the theoretical contributions of this research for understanding the relationship between intergroup contact and intergroup aggression.

Original publication




Journal article


Aggress Behav

Publication Date





250 - 262


aggressive action tendencies, intergroup conflict, intergroup contact, longitudinal data, perceived intergroup threat, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aggression, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Cross-Sectional Studies, Emigration and Immigration, Ethnic Violence, Europe, Female, France, Germany, Great Britain, Group Processes, Humans, Hungary, Interpersonal Relations, Italy, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Social Behavior, Xenophobia, Young Adult