Do the ideological beliefs of peers predict the prejudiced attitudes of other individuals in the group?

V. Paul Poteat, Lisa B. Spanierman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The authors used multilevel modeling to examine whether peer group ideological beliefs (n = 109 friendship groups) predicted the homophobic and racist attitudes of other individuals within the group (n = 395 college students). Results indicated that the social dominance orientation (SDO), right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), and universal-diverse orientation (UDO) ideological beliefs of peers predicted the prejudiced attitudes of other group members, over and above individuals' own ideological views. Additionally, the strength with which individuals' own ideological beliefs predicted their prejudiced attitudes varied systematically across peer groups. Affiliations with high-RWA peers strengthened the extent to which individuals' own SDO and RWA predicted their prejudiced attitudes. Results suggest the ideological beliefs of peers are relevant to predicting the prejudiced attitudes of the individuals with whom they affiliate. Although specific peer ideologies differentially predicted forms of prejudice, the overall contribution of these peer ideology beliefs to the prediction of individuals' prejudiced attitudes was comparable for both homophobic and racist attitudes. Attention to proximal social networks and the social dynamics within these networks can contribute to better explanations of individual differences in prejudiced attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-514
Number of pages20
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • authoritarianism
  • homophobia
  • ideology
  • peer groups
  • prejudice
  • racism
  • social dominance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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