Identity, Contact, and Health Among Majority and Minority Ethnic Groups in Mexico and Chile

  • Anja EllerEmail author
  • Huseyin Cakal
  • David Sirlopu
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


This chapter explores the relationships between social identity, intergroup contact, and health among mestizos and indigenous people in Mexico and Chile. Building on social identity theory and self-categorization theory, in Mexico and Chile important identities are based on ethnicity and nationality. There is widespread discrimination against indigenous people in both nations. While the protective influence of social relationships on health is well documented, it is not known whether this also applies to intergroup contact. We report two questionnaire-based studies (total N = 1000). Participants were asked about their direct and extended intergroup contact, their identification with subordinate and superordinate categories, and several health-related variables. Results revealed a complex pattern. For example, in both studies direct and extended outgroup contact had exclusively beneficial effects on physical and psychological health among indigenous participants while their impact for mestizo participants was more mixed. Results are discussed according to the meaning of sub-versus superordinate identities in Mexico and Chile and the divergent effects of intergroup contact on health-related variables.


Social identity Intergroup contact Health Majority Minority 



We are grateful to Benjamin Arditi for his comments on an earlier version of this chapter. We thank Andres Perez, Fernanda Mata, Rocio Castro, Katia Rivera, and Miguel Freyre for their help with data collection, translation of materials, and bibliographic searches. Preparation of this chapter was facilitated by PAPIIT/UNAM grant IN303112-3 to the first author. Different aspects of the same dataset have been presented in Cakal, H., Eller, A., Sirlopu, D., & Perez, A. (under review). Intergroup relations in Latin America: Intergroup contact, common in-group identity and activism among indigenous groups in Mexico and Chile. Journal of Social Issues.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Autonomous University of MexicoMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.University of ExeterExeterUK
  3. 3.Universidad del DesarrolloSantiagoChile

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