Maria Grazia Monaci, Rosanna Trentin

Rom/Sinti pupils in middle school: effects of intergroup contact on ethnic attitude in multicultural classes

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Interethnic contact, intergroup emotions, multiculturalism, scholastic integration, prejudice reduction

The present study investigated the effects of contact with Gypsies on prejudice and its affective and cognitive components in their Italian classmates. Via a repeated measure quasi-experimental design multicultural classes that also included Gypsy children were compared with monocultural classes made up only of Italian children. A questionnaire was distributed at the beginning and at the end of the school year to the same pupils (n = 133). Main results indicate that, at the beginning of the school year, evaluation of Gypsies is more positive in the multicultural classes but worsens over the school year while it remains stable in monocultural classes. Over the school year perception of parents' attitude and positive emotions toward Gypsies also decrease in multicultural classes whereas negative emotions remain the same. At the end of the school year pupils from all classes report greater school difficulties due to the presence of Gypsy children in class, decrease social interactions with them and have a less positive Gypsy stereotype. These negative effects on school integration are discussed in light of the psychosocial literature on interethnic contact effects.

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