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© The Author(s) 2017. Classic research on the contact hypothesis focused on the direct relationship between the antecedents (conditions under which contact occurs) and the outcomes (primarily, the reduction of prejudice) of intergroup contact. Recent work has taken a broader view of contact processes and effects. We review key developments over the past 20 years, identifying different forms of contact, factors that mediate and moderate the effects of contact, and both the nature and temporal stage and the varied outcomes of contact. We then identify several research directions to address pressing theoretical and practical issues. These issues concern (a) group processes and intergroup relations, (b) intergroup contact in the context of multiple categorization, (c) structural- and individual-level processes, (d) a broader range of individual-level outcomes (e.g., health), and (e) impact on social change. Contact theory and research provides a comprehensive conceptual foundation, allied to a range of powerful empirical techniques, for important new advances and practical applications for improving intergroup relations and producing more equitable outcomes across groups.

Original publication




Journal article


Group Processes and Intergroup Relations

Publication Date





606 - 620