Vezzali, L., Capozza, D., Mari, S., & Hichy, Z.
Contact models and intergroup relations in an Italian area bordering on Austria
In this study, we analyzed the efficacy of certain contact modes to improve relationships between the Italian and German linguistic group in the Bolzano Province (South Tyrol). In this Province — with an autonomous statute, and annexed to Italy in 1919 — the German group represents the majority and dominant group. The encounter modes evaluated were those conceptualized by the intergroup contact theory (Brown & Hewstone, 2005), the common ingroup identity model (Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000), the dual identity model (Gaertner, Riek, Mania, & Dovidio, in press). Participants were Italian students, born and living in South Tyrol; they attended senior high school in the city of Bolzano. A questionnaire was used. We found that the cooperative contact benefits were generalized from the proximal members to the distal outgroup: contact fostered empathy, reduced anxiety, and ingroup bias. These effects, however, were generally not moderated by the contact modes evaluated. We discussed the interest of studying the effects of cross-group friendships in this social context.Back