Prema teoriji kontakta (Allport, 1954) izravni međugrupni kontakt koji se odvija pod određenim uvjetima doprinosi poboljšanju međugrupnih odnosa. Osim izravnog kontakta i prošireni kontakt, posebno u homogenim okruženjima, ima pozitivne efekte na međugrupne stavove i ponašanja. Kako povezanost kontakta sa stavovima prema vanjskoj grupi nije visoka (Petigrew & Tropp, 2011), važno je ispitivanje uloge faktora koji djeluju kao moderatori i medijatori u ovom odnosu. Stoga je cilj ovoga istraživanja bio ispitati kako kontakti s pripadnicima vanjske grupe predviđaju međuetničke stavove i ponašanja, odnosno stavove prema multikulturnosti i asimilaciji te sklonosti diskriminaciji, uz ispitivanje moderatorskog efekta prijenosa etničkog identiteta, snage etničkog identiteta i socijalnih normi o poželjnosti međuetničkog kontakta u većinsko-manjinskom makedonsko-albanskom kontekstu. U istraživanju je sudjelovalo 361 dijete, učenici osmog i devetog razreda iz pet jednojezičnih škola u gradu Tetovu u Sjevernoj Makedoniji. Njih 166 bili su pripadnici većine (Makedonci), a 195 pripadnici manjine (Albanci) . Upitnici korišteni u istraživanju su mjerili stavove prema multikulturnosti i asmilaciji, sklonost diskriminaciji, važnost etničkog identiteta, obiteljski prijenos etničkog identiteta, izravni i prošireni kontakt kao i socijalne norme (obiteljske, školske i vršnjačke). Podaci su obrađeni koristeći metodu strukturalnog modeliranja. Izravni i prošireni kontakt bili su značajni prediktori međugrupnih stavova i ponašanja te je uspješnost predikcije stavova i ponašanja prema vanjskoj grupi ovisila o etničkoj pripadnositi djece. Izravni kontakt bio je prediktor manje sklonosti asimilaciji i manje sklonosti diskriminaciji kod većine , dok je prošireni kontakt predviđao pozitivne stavove o multikulturnosti i asimilaciji kod manjine manjine. Obiteljske i vršnjačke norme pokazale su se kao medijatori odnosa međuetničkog kontakta i međuetničkih stavova i ponašanja. Specifičnije, obiteljske norme pokazale su se kao medijatori odnosa između izravnog kontakta i sklonosti diskriminaciji, kao i odnosa između proširenog kontakta i stava prema asimilaciji. Vršnjačke norme pokazale se se kao medijatori odnosa proširenog kontakta i stava prema multikulturnosti. Ovo istraživanje pokazuje da međuetnički kontakt, izravni i prošireni, može biti dobar alat za poboljšanje međugrupnih odnosa. Obiteljske norme su značajni posrednici odnosa izravnog i proširenog kontakta i sklonosti diskriminaciji te stava prema asimilaciji. Rezultati su pokazali da je kod većine efekt izravnog kontakta na međuetničke stavove i ponašanja veći, dok se kod manjine učinkovitijim pokazao prošireni kontakt.
According to Contact theory (Allport, 1954, according to Pettigrew, 1998) the direct intergroup contact that happens under certain conditions contributes to improvement of intergroup relations. Except the direct contact, the extended contact too, which can have different distal forms, especially in homogeneous environments, gives positive effects in relation to the intergroup attitudes and behaviors. Since the strength of the connection of the contact with the attitudes towards the outgroup was not high (Petigrew & Tropp, 2011) it is important to examine the role of factors that moderate and madiate this relationship. The social context determines the effect of contact in the intergroup attitudes depending on whether and how much norms are encouraging contact, while few research on their role in this relationship is small and with inconsistent data. Therefore, apart from examining both types of norms, prescriptive and descriptive, it is important to also see who sets these norms - family, school and/or peers, when it comes to the relationship of contact with members of the external group and attitudes towards the outer group. The issue of ethnic identity is also shaping the relationship between groups, and the importance of ethnicity and relative status of the group are important variables that explain the relationship of contact and intergroup relations. Taking all of this into account, the aim of this research is to examine in the majorityminority Macedonian-Albanian context how the contacts with members of the external group envisage interethnic attitudes and behaviors, ie attitudes towards multiculturalism and assimilation, and the inclination to discrimination, while examining the moderator effect of transferring ethnic identity, the strength of the ethnic identity and social norms about the desirability of interethnic contact. In doing so, it is intended to check whether the group's status (majority or minority) has a moderator effect in that relationship.
The research involved 361 children of the eighth and ninth grade of five monolingual schools from the city of Tetovo, Northern Macedonia. The sample included (N = 166) children with Macedonian language of instruction (members of a majority ethnic group) and (N = 195) children with Albanian language of instruction (members of a minority ethnic group). Questionnaires used in the research have measured attitudes towards multiculturalism and assimilation, the tendency to discriminate, the importance of ethnic identity, the family transfer of ethnic identity, direct and extended contact as well as social norms (family, school and peers). The data were processed using structural equation modeling.
Direct and extended contact were important predictors of intergroup attitudes and behaviors, and the success of prediction of attitudes and behaviors towards an external group depended on the ethnicity of children. Direct contact was the predictor of less support for assimilation and the tendency of discrimination for the Macedonian children (majority), while the extended contact predicted positive attitudes about multiculturalism and assimilation in the Albanian children (minorities). Mediation of social norms in relation to intergroup contact and behavior was partial. Family and peer norms were shown as mediators of the relation between interethnic contact and interethnic attitudes and behaviors. More specific, family norms mediated the relationship of direct contact and the inclination to discrimination, as well as the relationship of extended contact and attitude towards assimilation. The peer norms were shown as mediators of the relationship of extended contact and attitude toward multiculturalism. The data showed that, unlike children in whose family there is a more intense transfer of ethnic identity, in children in whose families the transfer of ethnic identity are less advocated, direct contact with members of the out-group reduces the support of attitude towards assimilation, while extended contact increases the support of attitude towards multiculturalism. The direct contact for the participants with the highest importance of ethnic identity reduces the inclination to discriminate and increases support of the attitude for multiculturalism. While in the case of individuals who find ethnicity less important, an extended contact reduces the inclination to discriminate and supports an attitude towards multiculturalism.
The results of this research have confirmed the postulates of the contact theory that direct and extended contact contributes to improving inter-ethnic relations. More specifically, the extended contact was more present in our research, which is characteristic of homogeneous environments (Turner et al., 2007) and can serve as a good basis for direct contact in the future (Vezzali et al., 2015). When there is less discussion about ethnicity in the family, ie the family is less focused on transferring ethnic identity to children, it creates more space for contribution of the other factors on influencing the development of attitudes on the out-group, in our research it is interethnic contact. More specifically, personal contacts reduce attitudes towards assimilation while extended contact contributes to increasing support for multiculturalism in children whose families do not transfer ethnic identity more intensely. This would mean that not being burdened with ethnic identity issues and getting in touch through personal contacts with the members of the out-groups has a greater impact on interethnic attitudes amongst children. Family norms have been shown as mediators of the relationship between direct and extended contact with attitudes and behavior towards the outgroup. Since the participants in the research are adolescents to whom the belonging to a certain peer groups is important, yet the family remains a significant institution in shaping the attitudes towards the out-group. It is still important for adolescents to leave a positive image of themselves before the authorities. Peer norms are important in order for the extended contact to contribute towards greater support of the attitude towards the multiculturalism. The effect of expanded contact along with the peer norms is directed not only towards personal but also to collective tolerance and acceptance of the other ethnic group. In our sample, school norms did not show as significant mediators of the relationship between the contact and interethnic attitudes and behavior. Earlier researches have shown that schools in Northern Macedonia are nourturing paralelism, while the teachers have expressed distrust on the effect of the contact stating that the interaction of the children does not necessarily mean improvement of interethnic relations (Petroska-Beška et al., 2009). Thus, the teachers' attitudes on interethnic interaction are also expected to be "invisible" and thus, having no significant contribution in explaining the relation between interethnic contact and attitudes and behavior toward the out-group.
This research shows that interethnic contact, both direct and extended, can be a good tool for improving intergroup relationships. Family norms are significant mediators of the relationship between direct and extended contact, the tendency to discriminate against and the attitude towards assimilation. The results have shown that for the ethnic groups that are consisting of the majority the effect of direct contact is greater on interethnic attitudes and behaviors, while for the minority ethnic groups the extended contact was found as more effective.