Predicting community attitudes towards asylum seekers: A multi-component model
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Objective: The current study investigated the role of cognitive, affective, and behavioural information in the prediction of overall attitudes towards asylum seekers. Method: A sample of 98 Australian adults participated in an online self-report questionnaire where participants generated their cognitive, affective, and behavioural factors towards asylum seekers and then rated those factors on a continuum from 'positive' to 'negative'. Results: Multiple regression analysis confirmed the primary role of cognitive, then affective, factors in predicting attitudes towards asylum seekers. Cognitive information accounted for a moderate, significant 31.92% of the variance in overall attitudes towards asylum seekers. The unique variance contributed by affective information accounted for a small but significant 3.46% of the variance in overall attitudes; the unique variance contributed by behavioural information was not significant. Conclusions: The results provide a holistic theoretical basis for the assertion that community attitudes towards asylum seekers are based primarily on cognitive evaluations of the minority group. These findings have implications for changing community attitudes towards people seeking asylum in Australia.
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