I will help you because we are similar: Quality of contact mediates the effect of perceived similarity on facilitative behaviour towards immigrants

Lucía López‐Rodríguez, Isabel Cuadrado, Marisol Navas
Published Online:
10 Sep 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 52 Issue 4

Additional Options

This research aimed to analyse interpersonal behaviour towards immigrants by exploring related psychosocial variables such as intergroup similarity and quality of intergroup contact. A new interpersonal behavioural tendencies scale was developed. In Study 1, Spanish participants reported their willingness to take different actions towards a Moroccan (i.e. a devalued target, n = 132) or an Ecuadorian (i.e. a valued target, n = 138), perceived intergroup similarity and quality of intergroup contact. Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis identified the expected dimensions: active facilitation (AF), passive facilitation (PF), passive harm (PH) and active harm (AH). Participants reported less similarity, less pleasant contact, less AF and less PF, and more PH with respect to Moroccans relative to Ecuadorians. Quality of contact mediated the effect of perceived similarity on interpersonal behaviour (especially facilitative behaviour) towards immigrants. Study 2 (N = 134) confirmed that this mediation effect also applied to Romanian immigrants, and tested a serial mediation pathway, in which perceived similarity affected symbolic threat, which in turn affected quality of contact, which finally affected behaviour. Changing perceived intergroup similarity might be a way of improving the quality of contact with minority groups, and this would be expected to increase pro‐social behaviour towards such groups.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science