Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Positive Intergroup Contact: A Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis Approach to Understanding Intergroup Attitudes

Anita Atwell Seate, Nicholas Joyce, Jake Harwood, Analisa Arroyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Intergroup contact theory has suggested that interpersonal, and even imagined, communication between members of different social groups is one of the most effective ways to promote positive intergroup attitudes. Researchers have examined various elements and conditions of the communication that may be related to the impact of intergroup contact. However, due to methodological limitations, the extent to which these conditions are necessary or sufficient to produce positive intergroup outcomes has been unclear. We used fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fs/QCA) to analyze how several communicative and psychological variables might be necessary and/or sufficient to produce positive intergroup attitudes toward “illegal” immigrants within an imagined intergroup contact experience. Findings suggest that certain combinations of conditions for contact are sufficient for producing positive attitudes toward social group members but that there are no necessary causes. The discussion emphasizes the implications for intergroup contact and the utility of fs/QCA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-155
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2015



  • Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (FS/QCA)
  • Imagined Contact
  • Immigration
  • Intergroup Contact Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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