Contact is not enough: an intergroup perspective on stereotypes and stereotype change in Interprofessional education

C Dickinson, J Carpenter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The focus of this chapter is on the interprofessional education (IPE) as an encounter between members of two or more professional or student groups. It considers, from the perspective of social psychology, a key aim of IPE which is to improve interprofessional working by changing attitudes and perceptions. The underlying assumption of many, if not most, programmes of IPE is that if the professions are brought together they have the opportunity to learn about each other and dispel the negative stereotypes which are presumed to hamper interprofessional collaboration in practice.The ‘contact hypothesis’ proposes a set of necessary conditions for the beneficial outcomes of bringing groups together in order to reduce hostility and promote positive attitude change between their members. These are that the groups should have equal status within the contact situation, they should work on common goals, have the support of authorities (institutional support) and cooperate with each other in joint work which has a successful outcome. Participants should have positive expectations and there should be a focus on both similarities and differences between members of the groups. Finally, participants should perceive members of the other group as typical, so that attitude changes may generalise. Social Identity Theory offers a number of perspectives on generalisation. The chapter also considers cognitive processes which are thought to underlay attitude change; these include social categorisation, cognitive dissonance, and the role of emotions and insight. The chapter reviews empirical studies where the researchers have drawn on the contact hypothesis in the design of IPE programmes at both prequalifying and postqualifying levels and which have measured attitude change before and after the educational intervention. These studies provide evidence to argue that educators should pay explicit attention to an intergroup perspective in designing IPE. This would increase the chances of the planned contact having a positive effect on attitude change.
Translated title of the contribution"Contact is not enough": an intergroup perspective on stereotypes and stereotype change in Interprofessional Education
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Theory-Practice Relationship in Interprofessional Education
EditorsH Colyer, M Helme, I Jones
PublisherHigher Education Academy
Pages23 - 30
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)0954244060
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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