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Reconciling the Contradictory Effects of Cross-Ethnic Contact on Health: A Coalitional Psychological Perspective


Studies on the effects of ethnic diversity in neighborhoods and cross-ethnic contact on individual health outcomes have had mixed results regarding whether this effect is positive or negative. The Coalitional Safety Index (CSI) model (Boyer et al. 2015) proposes that these inconsistent results are related to differences in the perceived level of safety and its regulatory function to the stress sensitivity during cross-ethnic contact. Using the American quota samples of the Coalitional Psychology Survey (Boyer and Firat 2015), I found that the level of in-group cohesion, one of the two factors for judging the perceived safety level, moderated the direction of the moderation effect of cross-ethnic contact on the association between neighborhood diversity and health outcomes in the following way: low levels of in-group cohesion lead to negative health outcomes, while high levels of in-group cohesion lead to positive health outcomes. The perceived level of out-group threat, another factor of CSI, did not show this significant effect. These results suggest that, despite some limitation, the basic concept of CSI model (Boyer et al. 2015) may provide an integrated framework encompassing macro-scale (neighborhood diversity), meso-scale (cross-ethnic contact), and micro-scale (individuals' cognitive processes involving the coalitional sense of safety).

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