Testing the contact hypothesis: Examining the moderating roles of socio-political attitudes in xenophobia


Intergroup contact is proposed as one of the means of increasing tolerance and appreciation of diversity in multi-group settings. The main aim of the present study was to examine how intergroup contact affects xenophobic attitudes and what variables can help to understand the strength of this relationship. The sample consisted of 1050 men and women of an average age of 23.33 from different ethnic groups in Nigeria. Hypotheses were tested with structural equation modelling. The results of the data analysis revealed that people with greater intergroup contact had lesser xenophobic attitudes towards outgroups.  Furthermore, a social dominance orientation affected the relationship between intergroup contact and xenophobic attitudes by reducing the strength of the relationship between the two variables. Equally, for people who strongly identify with their ethnic groups, intergroup contact had lesser effect on their xenophobic attitudes. In addition, stronger identification with ethnic group also helped in reducing an aversion to social relations with outgroups. The results of this study were discussed under the socio-cultural context of the Nigerian society that drives ethnic rivalry and ethnic survival consciousness. The implications of the findings for improving relations between ethnic groups in Nigeria were highlighted. Suggestions for future research were provided.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v8i2p1

Keywords: group contact; ethnic identification; xenophobia; group survival; social inequality Nigeria


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