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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

EASP Seedcorn Grant Report by Flavia Albarello

23.10.2018, by Tina Keil in grant report

University of Bologna, Italy; Project: “A developmental perspective of factors affecting prejudice towards migrants and social inclusiveness in adolescence”

Flavia Albarello
Flavia Albarello

Modern societies are becoming increasingly diverse (Fiske, 2015), due to migration flows. Recently, in some countries there has been an increase in political ethnocentric attitudes resulting in a worldwide call to establish barriers against “foreigners” and defend own nations against migrants. This raises a core question: How is it possible to lessen prejudice and promote people’s capacity to be socially inclusive? The EASP Seedcorn Grant offered me the possibility to investigate the role of factors affecting both prejudice towards the stigmatized group of migrants and social inclusiveness in adolescence, by taking a developmental perspective.

Adolescence is a crucial phase when competing forces can lead either to reinforcing or to reducing social prejudice, which is already developed in childhood (cf. Raabe & Beelmann, 2011). Examining how both risk and protective factors affect prejudice and social inclusiveness of young people is important to promote more harmonious intergroup relations. In this respect, social psychological literature suggests that ideologies endorsing non-egalitarian relations towards social groups, such as social dominance orientation (i.e., an individual ideology supporting non-egalitarian and hierarchically structured relations among social groups; Sidanius & Pratto, 2001), can heighten prejudice against disadvantaged groups. Conversely, the use of social cognitive strategies that take into account multiple categorization of group members (Crisp, Hewstone, & Rubin, 2001) can reduce prejudice against others (Albarello, Crisp, & Rubini, 2018; Albarello & Rubini, 2012; Crisp & Hewstone, 2007).

As for social dominance orientation, there has been debate as to whether social dominance orientation is a relatively stable cause of prejudice against outgroups (e.g., Sibley, Wilson, & Duckitt, 2007) or it simply reflects intergroup attitudes and behaviors (cf. Kteily, Sidanius, & Levin, 2011). So far, longitudinal studies have not provided a conclusive answer on the direction of the relation between prejudice and social dominance orientation (e.g., Bratt, Sidanius, & Sheehy-Skeffington, 2016). In contrast, a consistent amount of experimental evidence has been collected on the effectiveness of multiple (Crisp & Hewstone, 2007; see also Albarello et al., 2018; Albarello & Rubini, 2012) in hindering prejudice. However, studies on the role of multiple categorization in adolescents are lacking.

This study aimed to analyse the effects of social dominance orientation, multiple categorization, and prejudice on later levels of adolescents’ social inclusiveness, considered as the extent to which individuals conceived of themselves as part of (i.e., identify with) the most inclusive and diverse ingroup, that is, the group of human beings (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987; cf. also Albarello et al., 2018; Albarello & Rubini, 2012).

Specifically, social dominance orientation was expected to be positively and longitudinally associated with prejudice against migrants (cf. Bratt et al., 2016). By contrast, adolescents use of multiple categorizations to describe migrants was expected to reduce prejudice over time. In order to clarify inconsistencies in the available literature (cf. Bratt et al., 2016) the study also analysed the effects in the other direction, i.e., from prejudice to social dominance orientation and to multiple categorization. Finally, it analysed how social dominance orientation and multiple categorization affect social inclusiveness over time. In this respect, prejudice was expected to mediate the negative effect of social dominance orientation and the positive effect of multiple categorization on adolescents’ identification with the human group.

Our sample consisted of 304 adolescents (61.84% female, Mage = 17.49) who were participating in a previously ongoing longitudinal study. The Seedcorn funds allowed us to add a third wave to such longitudinal study. Collection of this further third wave was crucial in order to analyse the effects of social dominance orientation, multiple categorization, and prejudice on later levels of adolescents’ social inclusiveness and test mediational processes.

The questionnaire included measures of:

  • Social dominance orientation (Short Social Dominance Orientation scale; see Pratto et al., 2013).
  • Multiple categorization (ad hoc measure developed to assess the extent to which participants rated five categorical dimensions as suitable to define migrants).
  • Prejudice against migrants (Classical and modern racism scale; Akrami, Ekehammar, & Arays, 2000);
  • Human identification (Human identification scale; Albarello & Rubini, 2012).

Overall, and in line with expectations, the results showed that: a) social dominance orientation and multiple categorization had opposite effects on prejudice; b) prejudice also affected later levels of social dominance orientation and multiple categorization; c) prejudice mediated the effects of social dominance orientation and multiple categorization on social inclusiveness.

These findings, which have important theoretical and practical implications, and suggest future directions for research and for interventions to foster inclusive societies, were presented during the activities of the 2018 European Researchers Night held in the Cesena Campus of the University of Bologna, at the 2018 EARA (European Association for Research on Adolescence) Congress in Ghent (Belgium) and at the 2018 AIP (Italian Association of Psychology) National Congress in Bari (Italy).


  1. Akrami, N., Ekehammar, B., & Araya, T. (2000). Classical and modern racial prejudice: A study of attitudes towards immigrants in Sweden. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30, 521-532. doi: 10.1002/1099-0992(200007/08)30:4<521::AID-EJSP5>3.0.CO;2-N
  2. Albarello, F., Crisp, R. J., & Rubini, M. (2018). Promoting beliefs in the inalienability of human rights by attributing uniquely human emotions. Journal of Social Psychology, 158, 309-321. doi: 10.1080/00224545.2017.1346581
  3. Albarello, F., Crocetti, E., & Rubini, M. (2018). I and us: A longitudinal study on the interplay of personal and social identity in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47, 689-702. doi: 10.1007/s10964-017-0791-4
  4. Albarello, F., & Rubini, M. (2012). Reducing dehumanisation outcomes towards blacks: The role of multiple categorisation and of human identity. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 875-882. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.1902
  5. Bratt, C., Sidanius, J., & Sheehy-Skeffington, J. (2016). Shaping the development of prejudice: Latent growth modeling of the influence of social dominance orientation on outgroup affect in youth. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 1617-1634. doi: 10.1177/0146167216666267
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  11. Raabe, T., & Beelmann, A. (2011). Development of ethnic, racial, and national prejudice in childhood and adolescence: A multinational meta‐analysis of age differences. Child Development, 82, 1715-1737. doi: 10.1117j.1467-8624.2011.01668
  12. Sibley, C. G., Wilson, M. S., & Duckitt, J. (2007). Effects of dangerous and competitive world views on right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation over a five-months period. Political Psychology, 28, 357-371. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2007.00572.x
  13. Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (2001). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and oppression. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  14. Turner, J. C., Hogg, M. A., Oakes, P. J., Reicher, S. D., & Wetherell, M. S. (1987). Rediscovering the social group: A self-categorization theory. New York, NY: Basil Blackwell.