Past and Present Intergroup Contact and Conflict Among Inhabitants of Former Mixed Villages of Cyprus: The Role of Individual and Collective Experiences in Predicting Attitudes and Trust

Judit Kende*, Charis Psaltis, Julia Reiter, Kyriaki Fousiani, Huseyin Cakal, Eva G. T. Green

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Positive attitudes and trust towards former adversaries facilitate reconciliation and peacebuilding. Both historical and current intergroup experiences such as intergroup contact and conflict predict intergroup attitudes and trust but no previous research has investigated the joint effects of these experiences. Therefore, we study the interplay of positive intergroup contact preceding conflict, negative experiences of the conflict, and positive intergroup contact following conflict. Drawing on social representations theory and using a multilevel design, we highlight the importance of both individual and collective experiences. We examine the effects of such experiences on intergroup attitudes and trust among a large sample of Greek Cypriots (N = 802) and Turkish Cypriots (N = 718) from 54 formerly ethnically mixed villages in the context of a protracted and frozen conflict in Cyprus. Present-day individual contact related to more positive attitudes and higher trust regardless of past experiences of conflict or contact. Furthermore, past collective contact experiences predict more positive attitudes and higher trust, whereas past collective conflict experiences predicted more negative attitudes and lower trust. Finally, present-day contact closes the gap in trust between respondents with low and high past contact. Overall, both current and historical, and individual and collective experiences matter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-768
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Psychology
Volume43
Issue number4
Early online date18-Nov-2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2022

Keywords

  • intergroup contact, intergroup attitudes, intergroup trust, post-conflict societies, Cyprus conflict, multilevel analysis

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