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What comforts targets of prejudice the most
Date:1/17/2014

t gets better,' would be counted as a message of comfort," Rattan explains. Social connection messages focused on the idea that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ) teenagers targeted by prejudice would find social acceptance in the future. Social change messages focused on the idea that the situation can, should, or will change.

As published today in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Rattan and Ambady, who passed away in October, found that while all the messages communicated comfort, and many included messages about social connection, only 22 percent mentioned social change. An additional analysis of university student's written messages confirmed that social change messages were least frequent. These findings conform to a body of previous research showing that majority group members focus more on interpersonal relationships rather than empowerment in their interactions with stigmatized minorities.

Merely knowing the content of the messages was not enough, however; the researchers also wanted to understand how the messages were perceived both by the targets of the prejudice and majority group members. They asked self-identified LGBQ participants to evaluate either a social connection-focused or a social change-focused message, as well as examined heterosexuals' perceptions of the two messages.

"Our findings showed that intergroup support messages that included ideas about social change were more comforting to LGBQ participants than those that included ideas about social connection," Rattan says. "This suggests that there is a benefit to communicating ideas about social change more often."

Interestingly, the heterosexual participants did not note a difference between the social connection and social change messages. That they saw the messages as equally comforting suggests that YouTube messages were not skewed toward social connection because people thought that would be more effective. It also hi
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Contact: Lisa M. P. Munoz
spsp.publicaffairs@gmail.com
703-951-3195
Society for Personality and Social Psychology
Source:Eurekalert

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