The Contact Hypothesis: An exploration of its further potential in interprofessional education.

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Submitted by Sarah Hean on Jun 7, 2014 - 1:07pm CDT

Resource Type: 
Journal Article

This paper highlights the research challenges that face researchers wishing to build the evidence base around interprofessional education (IPE). It concentrates specifically on the short-term impact of IPE on a student population. The Contact Hypothesis is a particularly useful theoretical framework to address these challenges as well as guide the development of IPE interventions. A brief description of this theory and the closely-related theories of social identity and categorization is made in order to support and clarify this theoretical position. The application of the Contact Hypothesis as it has already been made in the IPE field is also described. The paper then addresses how the Contact Hypothesis can be further utilized to address IPE research needs. Through consideration of critique of this theory outside of this field, the development of this framework beyond its early applications to the IPE field are addressed in terms of future direction, the caveats and models of IPE that now require empirical testing.


Hean, S. & Dickinson, C. (2005). The Contact Hypothesis: an exploration of its further potential in interprofessional education. Journal Of Interprofessional Care, 19(5), 480–491.

Sarah Hean
Claire Dickinson
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