Superordinate identity and intergroup roommate friendship development

Tessa V. West, Adam R. Pearson, John F. Dovidio, J. Nicole Shelton, Thomas E. Trail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A common ingroup identity promotes positive attitudes and behavior toward members of outgroups, but the durability of these effects and generalizability to relationships outside of the laboratory have been questioned. The present research examined how initial perceptions of common ingroup identity among randomly assigned college roommates provide a foundation for the development of intergroup friendships. For roommate dyads involving students who differed in race or ethnicity, respondents who were low on perceived intergroup commonality showed a significant decline in friendship over-time, whereas those high on perceived commonality showed consistently high levels of friendship. Similarly, participants in these dyads demonstrated a significant decline in feelings of friendship when their roommate was low in perceived commonality but not when their roommate was high in perceived commonality. These effects were partially mediated by anxiety experienced in interactions over-time. The implications of a common identity for intergroup relationship development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1272
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Actor-Partner Interdependence Model
  • Common ingroup identity
  • Dyads
  • Friendship development
  • Intergroup anxiety
  • Intergroup relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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