Looking for your cross-group friends after the breakout? Children's intergroup contact behaviours before and after the onset of COVID-19

Bagci S. C., Yalcin F. T., TÜRNÜKLÜ A., Vezzali L., Tercan M., Yilmaz A. D.

BRITISH JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol.62, no.2, pp.1036-1055, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 62 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/bjso.12616
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, PASCAL, CINAHL, Communication Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), EMBASE, Index Islamicus, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MEDLINE, Psycinfo, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.1036-1055
  • Keywords: common in-group identity, COVID-19, intergroup contact, outgroup attitudes, pandemic, refugees
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


While COVID-19 implications for prejudice have been investigated among adults in previous research, children's intergroup reactions to the pandemic and specifically how native children's contact behaviours with refugees might have changed after the pandemic has not been examined yet. Drawing on a unique longitudinal school dataset (N = 861, 5th graders, M-age reported at T1 = 10.38, SD = 0.68) collected before the onset of the pandemic (T1, pre-lockdown), after the onset of the pandemic (T2, post-lockdown), and 6 months after the post-lockdown (T3, follow-up) in Turkey, we examined how children's contact behaviour (positive and negative contact), contact motivation (self-efficacy and volition), as well as behavioural tendencies (approach and avoidance) have shifted during this period (2.5 years). We observed a consistent pattern of improvement in contact behaviours demonstrated by increases in positive contact variables and decreases in negative contact variables particularly from T1 to T2. The change in some positive contact variables was stable for 6 months, while negative contact and avoidance rapidly regressed to the baseline during the normalization period (T3). The boosting effect of the pandemic was particularly pronounced among children who displayed greater prejudice towards refugees before the pandemic. Findings contribute to the growing research literature delineating the potential benefits of COVID-19 at the collective level.