Equal-Status Contact

An equal-status contact is an interaction or relationship with another person or group who is on the same social level as you. An equal-status contact is a person or group who has a similar background, history, social role, and education. This is a concept of the contact hypothesis which is a theory regarding how best to improve relations between groups that display hostility towards each other. Conflict can be reduced between ingroups/outgroups and majority/minority groups successfully if several factors are in place. One is that the people involved are equal status contacts. Similar histories and backgrounds must be emphasized and encouraged in order to increase the likelihood of reduction in conflict. Differing statuses affect people within the same group: high and low socioeconomic status, differing cultural groups, and age disparities can cause discordance within a group.

To reduce the conflict between two groups at odds with each other then contact and communication must be encouraged between equal-status contacts because they are less likely to foster aggression based on differences in their status.

For example, two rival high schools are combined into one large high school. The school administrators want the two groups who are rivals and used to exhibiting negative thoughts to the other to join together and get along with each other favorably. Would it be a good idea to combine one school’s chess club with the other school’s tennis team No, it would not. But by joining the two different chess teams together and the two different tennis teams together the two groups can discover similarities, shared interests, and common traits with one another. This makes the likelihood of group cohesion much more likely to occur.