Encouraging dialogue between people of differing social backgrounds and beliefs can reduce prejudice and lead to greater appreciation of diversity, which in turn fosters attitudinally diverse friendships. We investigated how beliefs about the value of diversity relate to attitudinal diversity within relationship dyads. In a field study of naturally occurring relationship pairs in two neighborhoods of Boston (N = 89 dyads), participants completed measures of diversity beliefs and sociopolitical attitudes. People placed higher value on diversity in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood compared to people in the North End neighborhood, and relationship pairs were more attitudinally diverse in Jamaica Plain than in the North End. Attitudinal diversity within pairs was predicted by how highly the pair jointly valued diversity. Further, pairs’ greater valuing of diversity in Jamaica Plain mediated the effect of neighborhood on attitude diversity. These findings suggest that individual differences in appreciation for diversity are meaningful predictors of diverse relationships.
Bahns, A. J., Springer, L. S., & The, C. (2015). Fostering diverse friendships: The role of beliefs about the value of diversity. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 18, 475-488. doi: 10.1177/1368430214566893