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A Multi-Level Research Framework for the Analyses of Attitudes Toward Immigrants

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posted on 2021-11-03, 22:18 authored by Leong, Chan-Hoong

Contemporary research on acculturation tended to focus on the sojourners' or immigrants' perspectives on adaptation. The current dissertation however, centers on recipient nationals' attitudes toward immigrants and perceptions of multiculturalism. Three distinctive frameworks to study host nationals' perceptions are adopted; they include: (1) intergroup relations, (2) individual differences, and (3) cultural differences. Five separate studies were done based on the three frameworks using attitudes toward Chinese immigrants as the dependent measure in all except the final study. Based on the intergroup framework, Study 1 and 2 examined the influence of intergroup contact, national pride, perceived permeability, fairness, threat and host community acculturation strategies. Results showed that decreased contact and increased threat predicted less favorable perception towards immigrants (Study 1); respondents who espoused a need for immigrant assimilation and exclusionism, and those who adopted a less individualistic perception towards migration tended to express a more negative attitude (Study 2). Based on an individual differences framework, Study 3 and 4 examined the influence of social dominance orientation, self-esteem, individualism-collectivism, national pride and personal values. Increased self-esteem and collectivism predicted more favorable attitudes toward immigrants, and increased social dominance orientation predicted less favourable perceptions among host nationals who rated high on individualism (Study 3); respondents who placed greater emphases on security and achievement motivation have expressed more negative attitudes, but endorsement of stimulation value predicted more favourable perceptions (Study 4). In the final study, cultural differences were adopted as correlates of attitudes. Secondary data from the Eurobarometer (2000) and Schwartz's and Hofstede's typologies of cultural differences were used. Based on Schwartz's model, increased mastery was associated with less multicultural optimism; increased egalitarian commitment was linked to lesser support for policies that promote co-existence; and increased harmony was related to less demand for cultural assimilation. Based on Hofstede's model, increased masculinity was associated with less multicultural optimism and lower demand for cultural assimilation; and increased uncertainty avoidance was related to decreased multicultural optimism. Overall, two broad dimensions of acculturation experience have emerged from the research, first one is based on an 'invasion' perspective and the second one reflects an 'enrichment' experience.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


Ward, Colleen; Liu, James