Adolescent racial prejudice development: The role of friendship quality and interracial contact
White, F and Wootton, BM and Man, J and Diaz, H and Rasiah, J and Swift, E and Wilkinson, A, Adolescent racial prejudice development: The role of friendship quality and interracial contact, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33, (6) pp. 524-534. ISSN 0147-1767 (2009) [Refereed Article]
There is a limited theoretical and empirical literature on the role of friendship quality and interracial contact on adolescent racial prejudice development. To address this gap, the present study examined the relationship between these factors amongst an Australian sample of 89 school-aged adolescent friendship dyads and 80 university-aged adolescent friendship dyads. All participants were administered questionnaires measuring prejudice towards Asian and Arab Australians, friendship quality and interracial contact. Overall, the results revealed that all adolescents reported significantly higher levels of subtle prejudice than blatant prejudice. As predicted, university-aged adolescents reported significantly lower levels of both subtle and blatant prejudice towards Asian and Arab Australians than school-aged adolescents. Importantly, adolescents who had contact with Asian (outgroup) friends reported significantly lower levels of subtle and blatant prejudice towards Asian Australians than adolescents with no Asian friends. Interestingly, friendship quality was not found to moderate the similarity of prejudice levels within friendship dyads. Together, these findings indicate that in developing subtle prejudice-reduction programs research should focus on increasing interracial cooperative contact, particularly amongst school-aged adolescents.