It is well supported that intergroup contact reduces prejudice and that positive contact can increase trust and improve attitudes between groups in conflict. In segregated societies, however, contact is often difficult or undesirable when political parties or institutions obstruct intergroup contact. Therefore, when contact does occur it is vital that it is of positive quality that could potentially lead to increased intentions for further contact, as a way of facilitating sustained contact, desegregation and promoting peace. With this in mind, the present paper examines intergroup contact, intergroup trust and future contact intentions in two conflict settings; Cyprus and Northern Ireland. Separate models are also tested for Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland (n = 268) and for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus (n = 408). Participants took part in an online survey which asked them to report on their contact experiences, intergroup trust, outgroup evaluation and future contact intentions. As expected, participants from Northern Ireland experienced more and better quality contact compared to participants from Cyprus. For Protestants, Catholics and Greek Cypriots, results show that quality of contact, above quantity of contact, predicts future contact intentions and improved attitudes through the mediation of intergroup trust. For Turkish Cypriots, contact quality additionally directly predicted outgroup evaluation without necessarily increasing trust. We argue that positive contact is an important route for promoting desegregation in societies with high residential segregation but that it is vital to understand contextual and group status when understanding these relationships.
- Intergroup contact
- Northern Ireland