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Abstract

The current study examines the effects of ingroup identification, outgroup trust, and intergroup forgiveness on intergroup contact quantity in the diverse cities of Sarajevo and Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A total of 455 individuals ranging in age from 14 to 102 self-reported as either Muslim, Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, or Other completed a questionnaire. Analyses revealed that ingroup identification was significantly and negatively correlated with intergroup contact quantity; however, ingroup identification was not significantly correlated with outgroup trust or intergroup forgiveness. The comparison between groups revealed significant group differences across all predictor and criterion variables. To confirm whether age or community background had a moderating effect on predicting the relation between ingroup identification, outgroup trust, and intergroup forgiveness on intergroup contact quantity, moderated regression analyses were conducted. Results revealed community background, ingroup identification, and outgroup trust were all significant contributors to the model; however, age and forgiveness were not. Taken as a whole, the entire model accounted for approximately 21% of variability in intergroup contact quantity. The results from the current study reinforce the supposition that the two cities of Sarajevo and Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot move towards reconciliation without first understanding the effect that strong ingroup identification has on mixing with the other diverse groups, and implementing proactive measures to enhance outgroup trust and cross-community outreach. Implementing these measures in the two cities of Sarajevo and Tuzla, along with other areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina, may improve future intergroup relations and move the country closer to reconciliation and peace.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Melinda Leonard is an Associate Professor and the Faculty Director of the International Service Learning & Research Program (A&S short-term study abroad) in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of Louisville. Her research and service learning interests focus on the social/cognitive development of children and adults from communities transitioning from political/sectarian violence, specifically, Northern Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is interested in combining multicultural peace studies and social/cognitive research to enhance personal, family, and community relations. She is specifically interested in how cross-community engagement influences the psychosocial elements of “peace building” (i.e., in-group identification, intergroup forgiveness and trust, and mental health and well-being).

Branka Damjanović is a law student at Washington University in St. Louis. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Louisville, majoring in English and Sociology with minors in Linguistics and Political Science. She lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1999, when her family was resettled in Louisville, Kentucky. Her research interests stem from her personal background and she intends to use her legal training to continue searching for insights on social issues in the hopes of ultimately working on public policy.

Dr. Goran Šimić is an Assistant Professor of Criminal law at the International University of Sarajevo. He is the Founder and Director of the NGO: Transitional Justice Association in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He served as vice president of the BiH governmental working group which developed the transitional justice strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The strategy is a comprehensive framework for dealing with the legacy of human rights violations and war crimes, to build the foundations of a peaceful future.

Dr. Gül Aldıkaçtı Marshall is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Sociology at University of Louisville. Her current research focuses on the dynamics of the relationship between feminist grass-roots activism, the state, and supranational bodies. It highlights the significance of transnational feminist activism in influencing gender policies both at national and supranational levels. She is the author of Shaping Gender Policy in Turkey: Grassroots Women Activists, the European Union, and the Turkish State (SUNY Press). Other publications examine secular and Islamist women’s movements, volunteerism, domestic violence, and media coverage of gender policies.

 

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