Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Justine Dandy

Abstract

Psychological research conducted within the field of ethnic relations has revealed a strong relationship between an individual's perception of threat to their ethnocultural group and their attitudes towards the entrance and presence of other ethnocultural groups within a society. The relationship is such that the greater threat that an individual perceives, the more likely they are to hold negative attitudes. This paper provides a review of research that has investigated this relationship; revealing that although a distinct negative correlation exists between perceived threat and intercultural attitudes, a number of factors influence the relationship. Factors discussed throughout this review include the historical and relational context of ethnocultural groups, the status of these groups within society and the degree to which an individual identifies with their ethnocultural group. The review highlights that these contextual factors often influence perceptions of threat simultaneously, therefore, complicating the threat/attitude relationship. The paper concludes with a suggestion that future research should investigate the threat/attitude relationship across a wide variety of contexts in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the influence that perceptions of threat have on intercultural attitudes. This study investigated the relationship between perceptions of security and attitudes towards cultural diversity and immigration amongst UK migrants residing in Western Australia (N = 118). Two measures of security were utilised within the study, perceived security and perceived intergroup competition. Consistent with the hypotheses and previous research findings, greater perceived security and less perceived competition were significantly related to more positive attitudes. Regression analyses revealed that both predictor variables of perceived security and competition made significant, unique contributions in predicting attitudes towards both cultural diversity and immigration. The research highlights that if positive attitudes towards cultural diversity and related concepts are to be promoted, every cultural group that resides within a diverse society, including migrant groups, must feel that their place is secure. The results are discussed in terms of the continued importance of political policies that recognise and accept the presence of all cultural groups within society.

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