Interracial friendship development and attributional biases

J. Nicole Shelton, Jennifer A. Richeson, Hilary B. Bergsieker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We demonstrated that a self-other attributional bias impedes interracial friendship development. Whites were given the opportunity to become friends with a White or Black participant. Whites indicated how interested they were in becoming friends and how concerned they were about being rejected as a friend. They also indicated how interested they thought the other person was in becoming friends and how concerned they thought the other person was about being rejected as friend. Results revealed that lower-prejudice Whites made divergent explanations for the self and other when the potential friend was Black, whereas higher-prejudice Whites did not. Prejudice level did not influence the type of explanations made when the potential friend was White. Implications for interracial friendship development are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-193
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Attributional biases
  • Friendship development
  • Interracial interactions


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