Ambivalent Prejudice toward Immigrants: The Role of Social Contact and Ethnic Origin

Ambivalent Prejudice toward Immigrants: The Role of Social Contact and Ethnic Origin


Wednesday, December 3 at 10:00 AM CST

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Program Description:

Americans have historically held ambivalent attitudes toward immigrants. On one hand, Americans value egalitarianism, characterized by social equality, social justice, and concern for others in need. On the other hand, Americans also value the Protestant Work Ethic (PWE), an individualistic belief in hard work, self-denial, and individual achievement. The present study examined the relationship between egalitarianism and PWE with attitudes toward immigrants of different ethnic origins. We found that egalitarianism was associated with positive attitudes toward immigrants and PWE was associated with negative attitudes. However, whereas PWE predicted negative attitudes toward immigrants in general, when specific immigrant groups were evaluated, only groups stereotypically perceived as violating the PWE were rated more negatively. Further, this study also examined the role that social contact play in shaping attitudes toward immigrants. In line with previous work, close, personal contact was associated with positive attitudes toward immigrants, whereas impersonal contact with negative attitudes. Importantly, espousing egalitarian values was significantly associated with increased personal contact.

Program Presenter:

Hisako Matsuo, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Research Methodology at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. She holds Ph.D. in sociology and teaches applied statistics and research related courses to the graduate students from interdisciplinary departments. She also offers statistical consultations to the faculty at the university, and local and national organizations. Her research focuses on human migration across borders and consequences of such migration. Her current major research project is on cross-cultural adaptation of Bosnian refugees.

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