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Intergroup Anxiety

  • By: Walter G. Stephan & Cookie White Stephan
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

People often feel uncomfortable when interacting with others who belong to a different social group than they do. Intergroup anxiety is the term used to describe this discomfort. When interacting with members of a different social group (called an outgroup), people often anticipate a variety of negative outcomes, such as being taken advantage of or rejected. In extreme cases, they may be concerned that outgroup members will physically harm them. They may also worry that members of their own group (called the ingroup) will disapprove of interactions with outgroup members. Intergroup anxiety can arise in relations between almost any two groups, from racial and ethnic groups to different political parties.

Origins

Research on intergroup anxiety indicates that it has its origins in the past relations between the ...

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