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How do we get people into contact? Predictors of intergroup contact and drivers of contact seeking

Kauff, M.; Beneda, M.; Paolini, S.; Bilewicz, M.; Kotzur, P.F.; O'Donnell, A.W.; Stevenson, C.; Wagner, U.; Christ, O.

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M. Kauff

M. Beneda

S. Paolini

M. Bilewicz

A.W. O'Donnell

C. Stevenson

U. Wagner

O. Christ


Compared to the impressive amount of research on consequences of intergroup contact, relatively little work has been devoted to predictors of intergroup contact. Although opportunities for intergroup contact are constantly growing in modern diverse societies, these contact opportunities are not necessarily exploited. In the present review article, we describe current research on predictors of intergroup contact and drivers of contact seeking on a micro‐, meso‐, and macro‐level. We provide an overview of predictors, while focusing on recent research that is especially relevant for designing interventions and planning social policies aiming at increasing contact between different groups in varied societies. On the micro‐level, we discuss relational self‐expansion motives and confidence in contact as predictors of intergroup contact. On the meso‐level, we focus on the role of intragroup processes and historical intergroup conflicts in facilitating contact. On the macro‐level, we reflect on changing societal norms as a potential tool to increase the frequency intergroup contact. By focusing on the applied value of research findings, discussing diverse predictors, and applying a multilevel approach, we also address recent criticisms of the intergroup contact literature and demonstrate the generative nature of contemporary research in this area.


Kauff, M., Beneda, M., Paolini, S., Bilewicz, M., Kotzur, P., O'Donnell, A., …Christ, O. (2021). How do we get people into contact? Predictors of intergroup contact and drivers of contact seeking. Journal of Social Issues, 77(1), 38-63.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 1, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 31, 2020
Publication Date 2021-03
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 4, 2020
Journal Journal of Social Issues
Print ISSN 0022-4537
Electronic ISSN 1540-4560
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 77
Issue 1
Pages 38-63


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (572 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © 2020 The Authors. Journal of Social Issues published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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