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First published online June 10, 2018

Influence of segregation versus mixing: Intergroup contact and attitudes among White-British and Asian-British students in high schools in Oldham, England


We report findings from three longitudinal studies investigating the extent, quality and consequences of intergroup contact in schools between young Asian-British and White-British secondary (high-school) students. Results provide robust support for Allport’s ‘contact hypothesis’ in this setting. Specifically, mixing (vs segregation) in high schools does actually promote intergroup contact (although there is still resegregation), and contact improves attitudes and trust towards the outgroup. We conclude that faith schools, to the extent that they are segregated, deprive young people of the opportunity to mix across ethnic and religious lines during the school day; in the absence of positive contact in a safe setting, intergroup contact and especially cross-group friendships are restricted, and positive outgroup attitudes are thwarted.

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Miles Hewstone is Professor of Social Psychology and Public Policy at the University of Oxford, and Global Innovation Chair for Social Conflict and Cohesion, University of Newcastle, Australia. He has published widely in the field of social psychology, focusing on prejudice and stereotyping, intergroup contact, the reduction of intergroup conflict, sectarianism in Northern Ireland, and segregation and integration.
Ananthi Al Ramiah is a social psychologist with a PhD from Oxford. Her work has focused on the study of intergroup (specifically interethnic and interreligious) diversity and conflict prevention, discrimination, intergroup contact and compromise and most recently, religious extremism. Formerly an assistant professor at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, she is currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and works as an independent scholar and academic consultant.
Katharina Schmid is an Associate Professor in Organizational Behaviour at ESADE Business School, Ramon Llull University, Spain. Her research interests lie broadly in social identity and multiple categorization processes, prejudice, stereotyping and conflict management, and diversity and intergroup relations. She holds a PhD in Social Psychology.
Christina Floe completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford, in which she studied seating patterns and social networks in schools; she is now an independent scholar.
Maarten van Zalk is head of the Department of Developmental Psychology at Osnabrück University, Germany. He has published in the fields of developmental, clinical, and social psychology. His work focuses on lifespan development of personality traits, intra- and intergroup relationships, online and offline social networks, internalizing and externalizing problem behaviour, and prejudice towards refugees and immigrants.
Ralf Wölfer is an Associate Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Oxford. His main research combines social and developmental psychology in order to gain a better understanding how social relationships form behaviour and vice versa with a specific focus on aggressive behaviour, including ostracism, bullying, and intergroup conflict.
Rachel New is Research Coordinator for the Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict, University of Oxford.

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Published In

Article first published online: June 10, 2018
Issue published: July 2018


  1. Attitudes
  2. intergroup contact
  3. segregation
  4. trust

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Published online: June 10, 2018
Issue published: July 2018



Miles Hewstone
University of Oxford, UK; University of Newcastle, Australia
Ananthi Al Ramiah
Independent Scholar, Kuala Lumpur
Katharina Schmid
Ramon Llull University, Spain
Christina Floe
University of Oxford, UK
Maarten van Zalk
University of Osnabrück, Germany
Rachel New
University of Oxford, UK


Miles Hewstone, Department of Experimental Psychology, Anna Watts Building, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX2 6GG, UK. Email: [email protected]

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This article was published in Theory and Research in Education.


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