Despite the structural characteristics of international migration in most European countries, the persistence of prejudice and negative attitudes towards immigrants represents an unsolved problem that erodes social cohesion. European institutions continue to be concerned about the spread of xenophobia, especially among young generations. This article aims to shed light on the crucial role of intergroup friendships, considered a key factor in reducing the hostility toward immigrant groups. In particular, the aim is to verify the effects of intergroup friendships on prejudice, using data derived from an international survey carried out in France and Italy, two emblematic European countries as regarding the experience of international migration. 1,642 French and Italian adolescents, selected by a rationale choice sample, were involved: multivariate analysis confirmed the hypothesis that adolescents who hold intergroup friendships show lower levels of prejudice. The influence of the intergroup friendships on the decrease of intolerance is evident especially on socioeconomic and security issues while for the identity matters its effects are moderated by the country of residence of the participants. Considering these results, positive contacts among local and immigrant populations are recommended in order to reduce social fragmentation and foster social cohesion.
- intergroup friendships
- upper secondary school