Academic benefit of outgroup contact for immigrant and nonimmigrant students
Wölfer R., Caro DH., Hewstone M.
© The Author(s) 2018. Based on social network theories, outgroup contact does not only improve intergroup relations, but can also facilitate the academic development of students due to the social capital and the uniquely supportive information and resources it provides. In the present study, 12,376 students (14.42 years; 50% girls; 38% immigrant students) from 591 classes across three countries (Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden) provided information on social network data, academic achievement, socioeconomic status (SES), and cognitive ability. Social network analysis determined the intergroup network connectedness of students. As expected, country-specific multilevel models reveal a positive linear relationship between outgroup contact and academic achievement for immigrant students in all models, and a negative curvilinear (i.e., concave) relationship between outgroup contact and academic achievement for nonimmigrant students in 2 out of 3 models, while controlling for SES, cognitive abilities, and total network integration. These findings suggest the academic value of outgroup contact for immigrant students and signal its potential for nonimmigrant students.