Studying Positive and Negative Direct and Extended Contact: Complementing Self-Reports With Social Network Analysis.
Wölfer R., Jaspers E., Blaylock D., Wigoder C., Hughes J., Hewstone M.
Traditionally, studies of intergroup contact have primarily relied on self-reports, which constitute a valid method for studying intergroup contact, but has limitations, especially if researchers are interested in negative or extended contact. In three studies, we apply social network analyses to generate alternative contact parameters. Studies 1 and 2 examine self-reported and network-based parameters of positive and negative contact using cross-sectional datasets ( N = 291, N = 258), indicating that both methods help explain intergroup relations. Study 3 examines positive and negative direct and extended contact using the previously validated network-based contact parameters in a large-scale, international, and longitudinal dataset ( N = 12,988), demonstrating that positive and negative direct and extended contact all uniquely predict intergroup relations (i.e., intergroup attitudes and future outgroup contact). Findings highlight the value of social network analysis for examining the full complexity of contact including positive and negative forms of direct and extended contact.