Anxieties toward Outgroup Members: Use of an (Elaborated) Imagined Contact Intervention with Undergraduate Students

  • Krista MalottEmail author
  • Edward Wahesh
  • Emily Crawford


Negative emotional reactions toward those of differing social identities is both common and detrimental to the development of relationships that are essential for effective work, living, and educational spaces. In this study we assessed the impact of an (elaborated) imagined contact intervention (eICI) on undergraduate students’ anxiety levels toward those of other social groups in a course entitled “Counseling Diverse Populations.” Participants (n = 20) who completed an eICI reported reductions of anxiety in comparison to participants (n = 22) in an assessment-only condition who did not complete the intervention. At follow-up, however, decreases in anxiety were observed among all participants. Student qualitative commentary on the eICI reflected perceptions of increased awareness of personal biases and greater humanization of those from outgroups. Students also expressed a desire to increase contact with other groups so as to have opportunities to transcend group differences.


Bias Prejudice Intergroup anxiety Multicultural education Counseling 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education and CounselingVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA
  2. 2.Villanova UniversityVillanovaUSA
  3. 3.CEPD Psychological Services, Inc.YardleyUSA

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