Are diverse societies less cohesive? Testing contact and mediated contact theories

Mckenna, S, Lee, E, Klik, K, Markus, A, Hewstone, M and Reynolds, K 2018, 'Are diverse societies less cohesive? Testing contact and mediated contact theories', PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 1-21.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Are diverse societies less cohesive? Testing contact and mediated contact theories
Author(s) Mckenna, S
Lee, E
Klik, K
Markus, A
Hewstone, M
Reynolds, K
Year 2018
Journal name PLoS ONE
Volume number 13
Issue number 3
Start page 1
End page 21
Total pages 21
Publisher Public Library of Science
Abstract Previous research has demonstrated that there is a negative relationship between ethnic diversity in a local community and social cohesion. Often the way social cohesion is assessed, though, varies across studies and only some aspects of the construct are included (e.g., trust). The current research explores the relationship between diversity and social cohesion across a number of indicators of social cohesion including neighbourhood social capital, safety, belonging, generalized trust, and volunteering. Furthermore, social psychological theories concerning the role of positive contact and its impact on feelings of threat are investigated. Using a sample of 1070 third generation 'majority' Australians and structural equation modelling (SEM), findings suggest ethnic diversity is related to positive intergroup contact, and that contact showed beneficial impacts for some indicators of social cohesion both directly and indirectly through reducing perceived threat. When interethnic contact and perceived threat are included in the model there is no direct negative effect between diversity and social cohesion. The theoretical implications of these findings are outlined including the importance of facilitating opportunities for positive contact in diverse communities.
Subject Social and Community Psychology
Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis
Public Policy
Keyword(s) social cohesion
intergroup contact
neighborhood diversity
ethnic diversity
interethnic contact
negative contact
DOI - identifier 10.1371/journal.pone.0193337
Copyright notice Copyright: © 2018 McKenna et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author-credite
ISSN 1932-6203
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