How "It gets better": effectively communicating support to targets of prejudice

Rattan, A and Ambady, N (2014) How "It gets better": effectively communicating support to targets of prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40 (5). pp. 555-566. ISSN 0146-1672


What is said when communicating intergroup support to targets of prejudice, and how do targets react? We hypothesized that people not targeted by prejudice reference social connection (e.g., social support) more than social change (e.g., calling for a reduction in prejudice) in their supportive messages. However, we hypothesized that targets of prejudice would be more comforted by social change messages. We content coded naturalistic messages of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning teenagers from (Study 1) and college undergraduates' statements (Study 2a) and found social connection messages more frequent than social change messages. Next, we explored targets' responses (Studies 2b-4b). Lesbian and gay participants rated social connection messages less comforting than social change messages (Study 3). Study 4 showed that only targets of prejudice distinguish social connection from social change messages in this way, versus non-targets. These results highlight the importance of studying the communication, content, and consequences of positive intergroup attitudes.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
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© 2014 SAGE

Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2016 18:51
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2024 01:29

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