Changing youths' attitudes toward difference: A community-based model that works

Melanie D. Otis, Diane Loeffler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In a diverse society, prejudice and stereotyping can lead to a myriad of individual and social problems. Research on youth development suggests that inter-group relations can be improved through programs that focus on planned interaction between individuals from diverse backgrounds, and attendance to cognitive and emotional aspects of prejudice, along with efforts to build supportive relationships among participants. Anytown U.S.A., a human relations program for high school-aged youth, is designed to achieve these goals. The weeklong program utilizes experiential, cognitive, and behavioral components to increase knowledge of diversity, increase empathy for others, increase self-esteem, and develop a commitment to social change. This paper presents an evaluation of a regional Anytown program and discusses the implications of these findings for future youth develop programming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-64
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Work with Groups
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 13 2005


  • Adolescents
  • Diversity
  • Inter-group relations
  • Prejudice
  • Youth development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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