Hosting asylum seekers and attitudes toward cultural diversity in Australia

Khawaja, Nigar G. & Wotherspoon, Jane (2015) Hosting asylum seekers and attitudes toward cultural diversity in Australia. The Australian Community Psychologist, 27(1), 21 -37.

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In 2012, the Australian government in office introduced a novel scheme of housing asylum seekers as guests of Australians in the community. A number of Australians participated in the scheme and volunteered as hosts. This study compared those who volunteered to assist asylum seekers with general members of the community to explore the impact attitudes towards cultural diversity and demographic factors had upon willingness to support asylum seekers. Further, the two groups were combined to examine the factors that can contribute to positive attitudes to diversity in society in general. Participants (N = 142; aged from 24-79 years) completed online questionnaires assessing demographic variables, attitudes towards cultural diversity and acculturation. Various analysis of variance procedures, Chi-squared tests and correlations were conducted. Group comparisons indicated that volunteers’ attitudes did not impact on willingness to support asylum seekers. However, some demographic differences between groups emerged. Volunteers were more likely to be professionals with stable jobs, ethnically diverse and well-travelled individuals. Analyses on the combined groups indicated age, education and not having a strong religious affiliation enhanced Australians’ positive attitudes to cultural diversity. The findings have implications for promoting positive attitudes to diversity in individuals, organisations and communities. Potential opportunities for professionals and policy-makers to promote support for cultural diversity in the community are discussed.

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ID Code: 86036
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Acculturation, Asylum seekers, Attitudes, Australia, Cultural diversity
ISSN: 1835-7393
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Health Clinical and Counselling Psychology (170106)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Australian Psychological Society Limited
Deposited On: 27 Jul 2015 22:26
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2015 22:59

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