Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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This study examines the multiculturalism hypothesis (Berry, Kalin, & Taylor, 1977) in Singapore, a multi-racial nation steeped in Asian-Confucian culture, in an attempt to distil the underlying constructs of cultural and economic security. Using a nationally representative sample of 924 native-born Singapore citizens, we examined whether national pride, family ties and economic optimism mitigated the effect of realistic and symbolic threat on attitude toward number of immigrants. The results showed that, paradoxically, stronger family ties predicted less acceptance of immigrants but buffered against perceived realistic threat. More economic optimism predicted more acceptance of immigrants but also made one more sensitive to symbolic threats. National pride had no effect on one’s receptivity towards immigrants, nor did it interact with threat. Possible reasons for these findings were discussed with reference to Singapore’s unique culture, history and view towards immigration. Future study on the multiculturalism hypothesis should consider the particular cultural context of the site of study, instead of assuming a one-size-fit-all approach.

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