Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 633–643 | Cite as

Intergroup Contact and Evaluations of Race-Based Exclusion in Urban Minority Children and Adolescents

  • Martin D. Ruck
  • Henry Park
  • Melanie Killen
  • David S. Crystal
Empirical Research


There is a dearth of published research on the role of intergroup contact on urban US ethnic minority children’s and adolescents’ evaluations of racial exclusion. The current investigation examined these issues in a sample of low-income minority 4th, 7th, and 10th grade (N = 129, 60% female) African American and Latino/a students attending predominately racial and ethnic minority US urban public schools. Using individual interviews, participants were presented with scenarios depicting three contexts of interracial peer exclusion (lunch at school, a sleepover party, and a school dance). Novel findings were that intergroup contact was significantly related to low-income urban ethnic minority youth’s evaluations of the wrongfulness of race-based exclusion and their awareness of the use of stereotypes to justify racial exclusion. Further, significant interactions involving intergroup contact, context, age, and gender were also found. Findings illustrated the importance of intergroup contact for ethnic minority students and the complexity of ethnic minority children’s and adolescents’ judgments and decision-making about interracial peer exclusion.


Social reasoning Exclusion Intergroup relations Racial discrimination Minority children and adolescents 



The research described in this paper was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1R01HD04121-01). We thank the research team at the City University of New York, Danielle Beatty, Mitchell Johnson, Thania Made, Maya McLawrence, and Elyes Perez for assistance with the data collection and coding. In addition, we are grateful to the research team at the University of Maryland, Marguerite Adams, Alaina Brenick, Holly Bozeman, Nancy Geyelin Margie, Heidi McGlothlin, Alexander O’Connor, Christine Pitocchelli, and Stephanie Sinno, and the research team at Georgetown University, Nancy Gibbs, Lindsey Gansen, Dayna McGill, Elizabeth Kravec, Anne Blossom, Mia Shorteno-Fraser, and Meredith Mellody for assistance with instrument development and coding. In addition, we thank Shelby Cooley at the University of Maryland for her assistance with manuscript preparation. Portions of this project were presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, April 2009, Denver, CO. Finally, we express our appreciation to the teachers, parents, and especially the students who made this research possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin D. Ruck
    • 1
    • 2
  • Henry Park
    • 2
  • Melanie Killen
    • 3
  • David S. Crystal
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Urban Education, Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human DevelopmentUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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