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Mindfulness Practices Moderate the Association Between Intergroup Anxiety and Outgroup Attitudes
Mindfulness
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2017
Pages: 1172 - 1183
Source ID: shanti-sources-68951
Abstract: In prior literature, intergroup contact has been associated with better attitudes toward outgroups, but intergroup anxiety mediates this relationship. Higher anxiety is associated with less-favorable outgroup attitudes. We hypothesized that this meditational association would be moderated by frequency of mindfulness and contemplative practices. Study 1 surveyed Christian, Hindu, and Muslim college students in India regarding their frequency of practices, intergroup contact, intergroup anxiety, and attitudes (i.e., favorability and trait ratings) about primary and secondary outgroups. Study 2 measured these same variables with White/European, African, and Hispanic American adults. The results showed that participants that reported higher intergroup anxiety reported more negative outgroup attitudes. This relationship, however, was moderated by mindfulness-type practices: among participants who frequently engaged in these practices, this association was reduced compared with those who reported little or no mindfulness-type practices. The findings suggest that mindfulness and contemplative practices may help people regulate feelings of intergroup anxiety, which may in turn reduce the likelihood that intergroup anxiety exacerbates negative attitudes toward outgroups.