How to address the caveat of avoiding direct contact: Reducing prejudice towards gay and lesbian people in five Balkan countries

In the Balkans, contact with gays and lesbians is typically hostile or avoided. Drawing from probability samples of young people from five Balkan countries (N = 1046), we examined whether it is possible to transfer the effects of contact with other marginalized outgroups (largest ethnic minority in every country, Roma, the extremely poor and physically disabled) to acceptance of gays and lesbians (secondary outgroup), and whether this relationship could be explained by attitude generalization and increased intergroup trust. Path analyses supported the secondary transfer effect: it confirmed that, while controlling for direct contact, contact with other marginalized groups was related to more acceptance of a secondary group; this relationship was mediated by trust. This was found across all primary groups in the combined samples, while the effect varied for different groups in country samples. The results add to the value of intergroup contact as a mean of prejudice-reduction.