Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

Publication Date

2013

Abstract

This investigation develops and tests an hypothesised Cognitive Behavioral Fear of Crime Model. Mass media reports of crimes against international students have raised public awareness, questions about racially-oriented victimization, and the need for appropriate preventative strategies. Drawing upon Culture Shock Theory, this study proposes that international students are a vulnerable group, showing elevated levels of fear of crime, perceived risk, and avoidance behaviors. Five-hundred and ninety-one international students across four universities participated in either an online or hardcopy questionnaire survey, the measures of which were adapted from related studies. Structural Equation Modelling demonstrates a nonrecursive relationship between perceived risk, fear of crime, and avoidance behavior, supporting cognitive behavioral theory as an appropriate theoretical conceptualization for investigating fear of crime. Results show that young and female international students express significantly higher levels of fear of crime than their older and male counterparts. International students, who report high levels of social disorder and feel as an outsider or that it is difficult to make friends, express elevated perceived risk and fear of crime. Direct victimization, perceived cultural distance, and host attitudes influence fear of crime and avoidance behavior indirectly via perceived risk. Intriguingly, international students’ perceived prejudice by local residents is a nonsignificant predictor of perceived risk and fear of crime. Findings suggest the importance of social integration, social disorder, cultural differences, and attitudes of locals when it comes to international students’ perceived risk and fear of crime.

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