Dynamics of Respect: Evidence From Two Different National and Political Contexts


  • Klaus Michael Reininger
  • Christoph Daniel Schaefer
  • Steffen Zitzmann
  • Bernd Simon


In (post-)modern, plural societies, consisting of numerous subgroups, mutual respect between groups plays a central role for a constructive social and political life. In this article, we examine whether group members’ perception of being respected by outgroups fosters respect for these outgroups. In Study 1, we employed a panel sample of supporters of the Tea Party movement in the United States (N = 422). In Study 2, we employed a panel sample of members of the LGBTI community in Germany (N = 262). As disapproved target outgroups, we chose in Study 1 homosexuals in the United States, while in Study 2, we chose supporters of the German populist, right-wing political party „Alternative für Deutschland“. Our studies thus constituted a complementary, nearly symmetrical constellation of a liberal group and a conservative political group each. Among Tea Party movement supporters, respect from a disapproved outgroup consistently predicted respect for that outgroup. Among German LGBTI community members, this effect of respect from a disapproved outgroup was found in some of our analyses. For this latter sample, there was furthermore a tendency of societal respect to predict respect for a disapproved outgroup longitudinally. Additionally, we observed for both of our samples that respect from other ingroup members decreased respect for a disapproved outgroup. The dynamics of mutual respect in these two complementary intergroup contexts are discussed as well as the importance of direct intergroup reciprocity and superordinate group membership as routes to mutual respect.