In 1997, Wright, Aron, McLaughlin-Volpe and Ropp proposed the extended contact hypothesis, stating that simply knowing that one’s own ingroup friend has one or more outgroup friends is sufficient to reduce prejudice. In this work, we review the studies that have been conducted to test the extended contact hypothesis in the fifteen years from its initial formulation. After commenting upon the usefulness of approaches based on extended contact to improve intergroup relations and introducing research examining its effectiveness on a wide number of outcome variables, we present the main mediators and moderators of its effects. Finally, before drawing the conclusions where we offer suggestions for future research, we describe some interventions conducted in naturalistic contexts based on the theoretical premises of extended contact.
Keywords: Extended contact, intergroup contact, indirect contact, intergroup relations, prejudice reduction.