Can intergroup contact affect ingroup dynamics? Insights from a field study with Jewish and Arab-Palestinian youth in Israel

Ruth K. Ditlmann, Cyrus Samii

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    How can intergroup contact programs affect conflict-ridden communities besides improving the outgroup attitudes of participating individuals? We address this question by examining the effects of an intergroup contact intervention on ingroup dynamics that may mitigate intergroup conflict. We also examine how outgroup attitudes and psychological resources mediate such effects. We present the results from a difference-in-differences design with 149 Jewish and Arab-Palestinian youth, some of whom participated in an intergroup contact and sports program operated by a nongovernmental organizations in Israel. Our main outcome is one's tendency to censure ingroup members' provocations toward the outgroup. As expected, we find a positive impact of the program on ingroup censuring. However, this result is only marginally significant. We find a positive effect of program participation on outgroup attitudes among Jewish youth as expected. To our surprise, among Arab-Palestinian youth, we find a negative effect on outgroup attitudes. Exploring the underlying processes and group-based differences further, we find that outgroup regard mediates the effect of intergroup contact on ingroup censuring for Jewish youth. We find no evidence for mediation among Arab-Palestinian youth but a positive association between ingroup censuring and psychological resources. These results suggest that the psychological conditions of ingroup censuring may differ by group. We discuss implications for peace-building interventions in societies with groups in conflict.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)380-392
    Number of pages13
    JournalPeace and Conflict
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


    • Ingroup censuring
    • Intergroup contact
    • Outgroup regard
    • Psychological resources

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations


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