Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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This study analyses the predictors of opposition towards immigrants of “different ethnic groups” and “poor countries” in 5 European countries (Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, France and United Kingdom), using data from the European Social Survey 1 (Jowell & the Central Coordinating Team, 2003). Besides Portugal, a country that has moved from being one of net emigration to being a new host country for immigrants, the other countries were selected according to their main policies of immigrants’ integration. Opposition towards immigration (OTI) is analysed using three theoretical models: a) the economic self-interest model that proposes that opposition towards immigration may be due to economic factors; b) the social capital model according to which social trust and self-reliance on political and social system may shape peoples’ opinions on the benefits of immigration; c) Schwartz’s human values model, based on which it is possible to predict that some values facilitate OTI, whereas others facilitate openness to immigration. The hypotheses tested are: a) there is a negative correlation between economic well-being and OTI; b) a negative correlation between social capital and OTI; c) a positive correlation between both conservation and self-enhancement values and OTI, and a negative correlation between both self-transcendence and openness to change values and OTI; d) the social values model will further predict opposition towards immigration over and above the other models. Results globally support the formulated hypotheses.

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