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Open Access Publications from the University of California

E-contact: Creating Friendships Between Adolescents from Different Backgrounds to Increase Positive Outgroup Feelings

  • Author(s): Prow, Rachael
  • Advisor(s): Worrell, Frank C
  • et al.

In this study, the effects of adolescent intergroup friendship development on positive outgroup feelings (POF) are examined through an E-contact collaboration in drama classrooms between a Majority-White high-income (WHI) school and a Majority-Minority low-income (MLI) school. Forty-eight students participated in the study, six from the MLI school and 42 from the WHI school. A single cohort longitudinal approach was employed across two time-intervals and a 2 (Intervention Condition: control or experimental, between participants) by 2 (School: School 1 or School 2, between participants) by 2 (Data collection time: Time 1, Time 2, within participants) pre-post-control design. Students from the WHI and MLI high schools were split into control and experimental groups and friendship was enhanced in the experimental group.

The first hypothesis was that participants who were in the experimental E-contact condition would experience more feelings of friendship with their partner, thus also report more POF than those in the control condition. The results indicated that group assignment did not have a significant effect on the relationship between POF at Time 1 and POF at Time 2. However, Time—independent of group assignment—was significantly associated with change in mean POF (p = 0.0038). The second hypothesis was that the four known mediators—anxiety, knowledge about the outgroup, empathy and perspective taking, and inclusion of other in self (IOS)—would have an impact on the relationship between friendship at Time 2 and POF at Time 2. The only mediator found to have an impact on the relationship between friendship at Time 2 and POF at Time 2 was IOS. Results and future directions are discussed.

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