How do we get people into contact? Predictors of intergroup contact and drivers of contact seeking

Mathias Kauff, Marta Beneda, Stefania Paolini, Michał Bilewicz, Patrick Kotzur, Alexander W. O'Donnell, Clifford Stevenson, Ulrich Wagner, Oliver Christ

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Compared to the impressive amount of research on consequences of intergroup contact, relatively little work has been devoted to predictors of intergroup contact. Although opportunities for intergroup contact are constantly growing in modern diverse societies, these contact opportunities are not necessarily exploited. In the present review article, we describe current research on predictors of intergroup contact and drivers of contact seeking on a micro-, meso-, and macro-level. We provide an overview of predictors, while focusing on recent research that is especially relevant for designing interventions and planning social policies aiming at increasing contact between different groups in varied societies. On the micro-level, we discuss relational self-expansion motives and confidence in contact as predictors of intergroup contact. On the meso-level, we focus on the role of intragroup processes and historical intergroup conflicts in facilitating contact. On the macro-level, we reflect on changing societal norms as a potential tool to increase the frequency intergroup contact. By focusing on the applied value of research findings, discussing diverse predictors, and applying a multilevel approach, we also address recent criticisms of the intergroup contact literature and demonstrate the generative nature of contemporary research in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-63
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number1
Early online date31 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • intergroup contact
  • social interaction
  • predictors


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