Intergroup contact, friendship quality and political attitudes in integrated and segregated schools in Northern Ireland

Maurice Stringer, P. Irwing, Melanie Giles, Carol McClenahan, R. Wilson, J. A. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. This study examines the effects of integrated and segregated schooling on Northern Irish children's self-reported contact and friendship with members of the other denominational group in school and community settings. Aim. To assess the effects of cross group friendships and cross group contacts in school and outside school on children's political attitudes. Sample. A cross-sectional design was employed with 1732 children being assessed at three age levels 11,12 & 14 years in eight-matched integrated, maintained (Catholic) and controlled (Protestant) schools. Method. Lisrel modelling was used to investigate the interrelationships among cross group friendship quality, cross group contacts in school and outside school and children's political attitudes. Results. Intergroup contact within and outside school was reported frequently in integrated schools but only occasionally in segregated schools. Modelling revealed that cross group contacts in school and outside school were both associated with less extreme political attitudes. Friendship quality with cross group members had no significant effects on political attitudes. Conclusions. The results provide support for educating Protestants and Catholics together as a means of moderating attitudes and creating cross-community friendships in a divided society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-257
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Volume79
Issue numberPart 2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

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