Bridging intergroup difference in a community youth program

Natasha D. Watkins, Reed W. Larson, Patrick J. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article provides an intensive case study of a change process in which members of a youth program developed relationships with and altered attitudes and behavior toward diverse groups, including those defined by ethnicity, social class, religion, and sexual orientation. Latino and African American members of a community youth activism program were interviewed over a 4-month period, and supplementary data were obtained from participant observations and from interviews with the lead organizer. Qualitative analyses revealed a process in which youth were active agents of self-change. Their reports suggest three stages of change: developing relationships across groups, learning and discovery, and coming to act with awareness in relation to difference. The program facilitated this change not only by providing Allport's contact conditions and affording youth personalized experiences but also by providing them with critical understanding of the interpersonal and systemic processes that create marginalization and injustice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-402
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Adolescence
  • Intercultural competence
  • Intergroup relationships
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Youth activism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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