Skip to content

Fostering social change among advantaged and disadvantaged group members: Integrating intergroup contact and social identity perspectives on collective action.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Gian Antonio Di Bernardo
  • Loris Vezzali
  • Sofia Stathi
  • Shelley McKeown
  • Veronica Margherita Cocco
  • Tamar Saguy
  • John Dixon
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Early online date12 Dec 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Oct 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 12 Dec 2019


Recent research on intergroup contact has shown how interactions with outgroup members may both decrease and increase motivations to achieve social equality. Similarly, social identity theory has identified the conditions that lead individuals to challenge unequal social systems. Integrating these two major theories, the current study examined the processes underlying the relationship between intergroup contact and participants’ willingness to engage in collective action to challenge social inequality. Specifically, we tested socio-structural variables (status legitimacy and stability, and permeability of group boundaries) as potential mediators of contact in a sample of both advantaged (Italian high-school students, N = 392) and disadvantaged (immigrant high-school students, N = 165) group members. We found that contact was positively associated with motivation for change, an effect mediated by decreased perceived legitimacy of status differences. Moreover, for the advantaged group, membership salience moderated the effects of quality (but not quantity) of contact. Indirect effects were instead not moderated by content of contact (an index considering the extent to which contact was characterized by a focus on differences vs. commonalities between groups). Theoretical and practical implications of findings are discussed.

    Research areas

  • collective action, intergroup contact, membership salience, social change motivation, social identity theory

Download statistics

No data available



  • Full-text PDF (author’s accepted manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via SAGE Publications at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 977 KB, PDF document


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups