Paper in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
- White, F.A., & Abu-Rayya, H.M. (2012). A dual identity-electronic contact (DIEC) experiment promoting short- and long-term intergroup harmony. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, DOI:10.1016/j.jesp.2012.01.007.
Existing intergroup harmony programs have been short in length with little long-term evaluation of their true effectiveness. This experiment addresses this limitation through the development and evaluation of a new intergroup harmony program that integrates dual identity and contact tenets. At Time 1, 116 Australian Muslim and 104 Australian Christian first-year high school students attending religiously segregated schools completed pre-test measures of intergroup bias, intergroup anxiety, prejudice, and outgroup knowledge. Eight months later, in the next year of school, these students were allocated to either the nine-week dual identity-electronic or E-contact (DIEC) program that involved Muslims and Christians interacting via a synchronous internet chat tool, or the control condition where they completed the program within their religious groups with no recategorization. All participants completed the same pre-test measures at two weeks (Time 2) and 6-months (Time 3) post-program. At Time 2, for students in the DIEC condition, intergroup bias and intergroup anxiety decreased significantly, and outgroup knowledge increased significantly, compared to the control condition. In the case of intergroup bias, the decrease was maintained at Time 3. Moderation effects of ingroup identification and outgroup friendship, and mediation effects of intergroup anxiety were also found. These encouraging findings highlight that carefully designed E-contact programs can successfully promote intergroup harmony in both the short- and long-term.