Modes of intergroup contact: If and how to interact with the outgroup

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4 Scopus citations


The modes of intergroup contact, both direct and indirect, have become a focal point for the contact literature over the past decade or more. As part of our developing understanding of when and why certain types of contact improve intergroup relations, this paper examines some theoretical concepts useful for organizing modes of contact, building on previous schemes in the literature. It explores the idea that experiences in one type of contact generalize to other modes of contact. It then considers the degree to which individuals have choice about which mode of contact to use, and indeed whether they have choice about having contact at all, as well as whether such choices are associated with the valence of the contact. These ideas are developed into a model of flexibility in if and how to engage in contact, including the positive and negative consequences thereof. The model contributes to the literature's ability to consider both whether contact occurs and how it happens in a single framework. The paper considers whether societal inequality is reflected in the kinds of contact choices available to those with privilege and those without.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-170
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • indirect contact
  • intergroup contact
  • media
  • social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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