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Attitudes towards Refugees: The Dark Side of Prejudice in Australia

Schweitzer, Robert, Perkoulidis, Shelley A., Krome, Sandra L., & Ludlow, Christopher N. (2005) Attitudes towards Refugees: The Dark Side of Prejudice in Australia. Australian Journal of Psychology, 57(3), pp. 170-179.

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Abstract

Australia has a significant intake of refugees each year. The majority enter through the humanitarian entrants program and a small percentage arrive seeking asylum. These processes have resulted in considerable debate, which has sometimes been associated with negative attitudes within the mainstream community. Research has indicated that realistic threat and symbolic threat are important components of the integrated threat theory for understanding opposition towards immigrants and refugees. Social desirability has also been indicated as potentially influential in the expression of negative attitudes. The current study examined the prevalence and correlates of negative attitudes towards refugees in an Australian sample. Participants comprised 261 volunteer university students (119 males and 142 females). Participants were assessed on a prejudicial attitude measure, measures of symbolic and realistic threat and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale. The results indicated over half (59.8%) of participants scored above the mid-point on prejudicial attitudes. Males reported less favourable attitudes towards refugees than females. Analysis revealed both realistic and symbolic threats were influential in predicting prejudicial attitudes and, of these, realistic threat was the better predictor. The results are discussed in relation to the integrated threat theory of prejudice and in the context of addressing prejudice towards refugees in Australia.

Impact and interest:

20 citations in Scopus
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17 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 3878
Item Type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1080/00049530500125199
ISSN: 0004-9530
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Health Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: First published in Australian Journal of Psychology 57(3):pp. 170-179.
Deposited On: 13 Apr 2006
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:27

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