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Religious group relations among Christian, Muslim, and nonreligious early adolescents in the Netherlands

By M.J.A.M. Verkuyten and J.T. Thijs


This study conducted among Christian, Muslim, and nonreligious early adolescents living in the Netherlands used intergroup theory for examining religious group evaluations. There was evidence for a religious group divide with a third of the Christian and nonreligious participants explicitly indicating negative feelings toward Muslims, and Muslim children having negative feelings toward Christians, nonbelievers, and Jews. Furthermore, the Muslim early adolescents had high religious in-group identification and higher identification was associated with more negative feelings toward nonbelievers and Jews. In addition, the results show that increased opportunities in school for contact between early adolescents from different religious and nonreligious groups contributes to more positive group relations. It is argued that the pattern of results is in agreement with an intergroup perspective in which the role of the broader social context and the concrete situation is taken into account.

Year: 2010
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