Intergroup Contact Facilitates Physiological Recovery following Stressful Intergroup Interactions

J Exp Soc Psychol. 2010 Sep;46(5):854-858. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.04.006.


A growing body of research has demonstrated the importance of intergroup contact in reducing fear, threat and anxiety in intergroup domains. Here we focus on the regulatory benefits of intergroup contact. We hypothesized that past intergroup contact would facilitate recovery from a stressful intergroup evaluation. White and Black participants completed a stressful evaluative task in the presence of two White or two Black interviewers while autonomic nervous system and hormonal responses were assessed. When examining how participants recovered after the stressful task, intergroup contact predicted faster physiological recovery for both autonomic and neuroendocrine reactivity. The importance of recovery from stress for physiological resilience in diverse contexts is discussed.