Intergroup threat and outgroup attitudes: a meta-analytic review

Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2006;10(4):336-53. doi: 10.1207/s15327957pspr1004_4.


This article examines the relationship between intergroup threat and negative outgroup attitudes. We first qualitatively review the intergroup threat literature, describing the shift from competing theories toward more integrated approaches, such as the integrated threat theory (ITT; W. G. Stephan and Stephan, 2000). The types of threats discussed include: realistic threat, symbolic threat, intergroup anxiety, negative stereotypes, group esteem threat, and distinctiveness threat. We then conducted a quantitative meta-analysis examining the relationships between various intergroup threats and outgroup attitudes. The meta-analysis, involving 95 samples, revealed that 5 different threat types had a positive relationship with negative outgroup attitudes. Additionally, outgroup status moderated some of these relationships. Implications and future directions are considered.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude*
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Perception*