Meta-Analytic Evaluations of Interventions to Improve Ethnic Attitudes
Ethnic prejudice (i.e., negative attitudes toward members of an ethnic outgroup or toward an ethnic outgroup as a whole) is (still) a prevalent social problem. Psychology provides a substantial number of empirically supported theories (see e.g., Dovidio, Hewstone, Glick & Esses, 2010; Duckitt, 2...
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|Summary:||Ethnic prejudice (i.e., negative attitudes toward members of an ethnic outgroup or toward an ethnic outgroup as a whole) is (still) a prevalent social problem. Psychology provides a substantial number of empirically supported theories (see e.g., Dovidio, Hewstone, Glick & Esses, 2010; Duckitt, 2010; Whitley & Kite, 2006) that can explain the existence of negative ethnic attitudes. However, to be able to improve interethnic relations, even more important than theoretical explanations is concrete knowledge concerning effective interventions that can diminish prejudicial tendencies. Therefore, the manuscripts included in this dissertation describe meta-analytic evaluations of two types of programs to improve ethnic attitudes. The first meta-analysis (Manuscript #1) was conducted to test the impact of interventions that are based on the intergroup contact theory. Evaluations of direct (i.e., face-to-face) as well as indirect contact programs were included. The meta-analyzed contact-control comparisons model the effect of contact shortly after the interventions (k = 115, N = 10,591) or with a delay of at least one month (k = 23, N = 1,449). As hypothesized, the results indicate that theory-driven contact interventions improve ethnic attitudes. Also as predicted, the effect is larger for ethnic majorities, contact programs, however, have a positive impact on ethnic minorities as well. I demonstrate that contact interventions are also effective in the context of an intractable conflict. In addition, both direct and indirect contact programs have a positive outcome. Furthermore, not only attitudes toward individuals involved in the contact situation are improved but also toward the entire outgroup. The second meta-analysis (Manuscript #2) was carried out to test the effectiveness of information-based interventions. The term information is used in a broad sense and refers to input that is assumed to improve ethnic attitudes without being based on intergroup contact. In order to exhaustively capture the characteristics of information interventions, I introduce a multi-axial taxonomy encompassing three conceptually independent axes: content, method, and duration. Concerning content, information programs can focus on the enhancement of knowledge, on the evocation of empathy, and/or on the sophistication of social-cognitive skills. In addition, they can utilize passive (e.g., viewing audio-visual material) and/or active (e.g., role plays) methods, can last one or multiple days, and can differ regarding the number of net treatment hours. The meta-analytic test of the general effectiveness of information initiatives is based on a total sample of 154 independent intervention-control comparisons. In line with my prediction, information programs typically improve ethnic attitudes. Interventions that include empathy-evoking content are, as hypothesized, especially effective. Contrary to my expectation, the outcome of initiatives that (also) use active methods does not differ from those that only apply passive techniques. Furthermore, again in opposition to my prediction, the impact of information interventions is not affected by the duration of the treatment. After the presentation of the two meta-analyses, their findings and directions for future research are discussed.|