Xenophobia and Social Contact in University Students

Faruk Bozdağ


Due to increasing human mobility in today’s world, relations among groups are becoming more and more important. As people with different cultures come in close contact they begin to influence inter-group attitudes (Barni et al., 2020; Turner et al., 2020). Xenophobia, which can be described as negative attitudes towards migrants, is one of the most serious problems between groups caused by migration (Peterie & Neil, 2020). This study aims to investigate the relationship between social contact and xenophobic attitudes towards Syrian migrants among university students in Turkey. Data were collected from 142 university students through the Xenophobia Scale and the Revised Social Contact Scale. The data obtained were analyzed by multiple linear regression technique. The findings show that while the quality of social contact significantly predicts the xenophobic attitudes of university students, the quantity of social contact does not. The quality of social contact explains 43% of university students’ xenophobic attitudes. It is understood that the quality of social contact is highly effective in reducing xenophobic attitudes towards migrants.


Migration, Xenophobia, Quantity of social contact, Quality of social contact

Full Text:



Abrams, D. (2010). Processes of prejudices: Theory, evidence and intervention. Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report 56.

Adjai, C. (2010). The halo slips? Xenophobia and its consequences in the new South Africa. [Master’s thesis, University of Leicester]. University of Leicester Digital Archive. https://hdl.handle.net/2381/8579

Ahmed, S. (2017). News media, movies, and anti-Muslim prejudice: Investigating the role of social contact. Asian Journal of Communication, 27(5), 536-553. https://doi.org/10.1080/01292986.2017.1339720

Akbaş, G. (2010). Social identity and intergroup relations: The case of Alevis and Sunnis in Amasya (Publication No. 277668) [Master’s thesis, Middle East Technical University]. YOK Thesis Center.

Alrababa’h, A., Dillon, A., Williamson, S., Hainmueller, J., Hangartner, D., & Weinstein, J. (2020). Attitudes toward migrants in a highly impacted economy: Evidence from the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan. Comparative Political Studies.1-49. SSRN. https://ssrn.com/abstract=3325362

Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Addison-Wesley Publishing.

Ata, A., Bastian, B., & Lusher, D. (2009). Intergroup contact in context: The mediating role of social norms and group-based perceptions on the contact–prejudice link. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33, 498-506. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2009.05.001

American Psychological Association (APA) (2013). Working with immigrant-origin clients: An update for mental health professionals. APA.

Bacquet, G. (2020). Can the dimensions of identity, investment and empowerment increase social ınclusion for second-language learners?–Moving towards the creation of a conceptual framework. International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, 8(2), 10-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.8n.2p.10

Barlow, F. K., Paolini, S., Pedersen, A., Hornsey, M. J., Radke, H. R. M., Harwood, J., Rubin. M., & Sibley, C. G. (2012). The contact caveat: Negative contact predicts increased prejudice more than positive contact predicts reduced prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(12), 1629-1643. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167212457953

Barni, D., Cavazza, N., Russo, S., Vieno, A., & Roccato, M. (2020). Intergroup contact and prejudice toward immigrants: A multinational, multilevel test of the moderating role of individual conservative values and cultural embeddedness. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 75, 106-117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2020.02.004

Beller, J. (2020). Xenophobia trends in Germany: Increasing negative attitude towards foreigners in younger birth cohorts. The Social Science Journal, 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1080/03623319.2020.1735855

Berry, J. W., & Sabatier, C. (2010a). Acculturation, discrimination, and adaptation among second generation immigrant youth in Montreal and Paris. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 34(3), 191-207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2009.11.007

Berry, J. W., & Sabatier, C. (2010b). The acculturation and adaptation of second-generation immigrant youth in Toronto and Montreal. In S. S. Chuang & R. P. Moreno (Eds.), Immigrant children: change, adaptation, and cultural transformation (pp. 125-148). United Kingdom: Lexington Books.

Björn, G. J. (2013). Refugee children and families: Psychological health, brief family intervention and ethicalaspects [Doctoral dissertation, Linköping University]. Linköping University Digital Archive. http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:646924/FULLTEXT01.pdf

Boehnke, K., Hagan, J., & Hefler, G. (1998). On the development of xenophobia in Germany: The adolescent years. Journal of Social Issues, 54(3), 585-602. https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.841998084

Bozdağ, F. (2020). Mülteci çocukların psikolojik sağlamlıkları ve kültürlenme stratejileri (Tez No. 619369) [Doktora tezi, Hacettepe Üniversitesi]. YÖK Tez Merkezi.

Bozdağ, F., & Kocatürk, M. (2017). Development of Xenophobia Scale: Validity and reliability analysis. Journal of International Social Research, 10(52), 615-620. http://dx.doi.org/10.17719/jisr.2017.1921

Bhugra, D., & Gupta, S. (2011). Introduction: Setting the scene. In Bhugra, D., & Gupta, S. (Eds.), Migration and mental health (pp. 1-15). Cambridge University Press.

Brown, R., Maras, P., Masser, B., Vivian, J., & Hewstone, M. (2001). Life on the ocean wave: Testing some intergroup hypotheses in a naturalistic setting. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 4(2), 81-97. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430201004002001

Canetti-Nisim, D., Halperin, E., Hobfoll, S. E., & Johnson, R. E. (2006). Xenophobia towards Palestinian citizens of Israel among Russian ımmigrants in Israel: Heightened by failure to make gains in a new democratic society. Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

Case, K. A., Fishbein, H. D., & Ritchey, P. N. (2006). Personality’s influence on higher order factors of prejudice and discrimination. Current Research in Social Psychology, 11(13), 187-201.

Christ, O., & Kauff, M. (2019). Intergroup contact theory. In K. Sassenberg, M. L. W. Vliek (Eds.), Social psychology in action (pp. 145-161). Springer.

Chung, R. C., Bemak, F., & Grabosky, T. K. (2011). Multicultural-social justice leadership strategies: Counseling and advocacy with immigrants. Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 3(1), 86-102. https://doi.org/10.33043/JSACP.3.1.86-102

Coban, M. (2020). Redistribution preferences, attitudes towards immigrants, and ethnic diversity. Institute for Employment Research of the Federal Employment Agency.

Conneely, A. (2019). Effects of frequency of contact and group salience on attitudes towards immigrants (Bachelor›s thesis, National College of Ireland). The National College of Ireland’s Institutional Repository. http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/3772

Çuhadar-Gürkaynak, E. (2012). Toplumsal temas: Önyargı ve ayrımcılığı önlemek için bir sosyal değişim aracı olarak kullanılabilir mi?. In K. Çayır & M. A. Ceyhan (Eds.), Ayrımcılık: Çok Boyutlu Yaklaşımlar (pp.1-12). İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları.

de Coninck, D., Rodríguez-de-Dios, I., & d’Haenens, L. (2020). The contact hypothesis during the European refugee crisis: Relating quality and quantity of (in) direct intergroup contact to attitudes towards refugees. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430220929394

de Wit, M. A., Tuinebreijer, W. C., Dekker, J., Beekman, A. J., Gorissen, W. H., Schrier, A. C., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Komproe, I. H., & Verhoeff, A. P. (2008). Depressive and anxiety disorders in different ethnic groups: a population based study among native Dutch, and Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese migrants in Amsterdam. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 43, 905-912. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-008-0382-5

DiGiusto, G. M., & Jolly, S. K. (2009). Xenophobia and immigrant contact: British public attitudes toward immigration. Archive of European Integration. http://aei.pitt.edu/33071/1/jolly._seth.pdf

Directorate of Migration General Management. (2020). Geçici koruma. T.C. İç İşleri Bakanlığı Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü.

Dirksmeier, P. (2014). Are urbanites more permissive? Germany’s urban geography of prejudice. Urban Affairs Review, 50(6), 835-863. https://doi.org/10.1177/1078087414520950

Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., & Kawakami, K. (2003). Intergroup contact: The past, present, and the future. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 6(1), 5-21. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430203006001009

Ekici, H. (2019). Türk toplumunda Suriyelilere yönelik algılanan tehditler ve cözüm onerileri. Sosyal Politika Calışmaları Dergisi, 19(44), 695-730.

Ersoy, A. F., & Ala, M. (2019). Suriyeli sığınmacı ve multecilere iliskin görüşler: Osmaniye’de nitel bir arastırma Ucuncu Sektor Sosyal Ekonomi Dergisi, 54(3), 1343-1356.

Everett, J. A., & Onu, D. (2013). Intergroup contact theory: Past, present, and future. The Inquisitive Mind, 2(17), 1-6.

Fantino, A. M., & Colak, A. (2001). Refugee children in Canada: Searching for identity. Child Welfare, 80(5), 587-596.

Feliciano, C. (2001). The benefits of biculturalism: Exposure to immigrant culture and dropping out of school among Asian and Latino youths. Social Science Quarterly, 82(4), 865–879. https://doi.org/10.1111/0038-4941.00064

Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using SPSS. Sage Publications.

Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39-50. https://doi.org/10.1177/002224378101800104

Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. & Hyun, H. (2011). How to design and evaluate research in education. Mc Graw Hil

Genkova, P., & Grimmelsmann, M. (2020). Investigating interculturality in Germany by means of social identity, social distance, personality and xenophobia. Migration and Development, 9(3) 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/21632324.2020.1756714

Georgiadou, V., Rori, L., Roumanias, C. (2018). Mapping the European far right in the 21st century: A meso-level analysis. Electoral Studies, 54(1), 103-115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2018.05.004

Gözübüyük, M., Kemik, P., & Sever, M. (2019). Suriyeli sığınmacıların yoğun yasadığı bolgelerdeki yerel halkın Suriyeli sığınmacılara ilişkin görüşleri: Altındağ örneği. Mukaddime, 10(2), 582-596.

Ha, S. E. (2010). The consequences of multiracial contexts on public attitudes toward immigration. Political Research Quarterly, 63(1), 29-42. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912908325255

Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. E. (2014). Multivariate data analysis. Pearson.

Haque, A. E. (2015). Construction and validation of a new measure of xenophobia. Northwestern University.

Harrison, N., & Peacock, N. (2010). Cultural distance, mindfulness and passive xenophobia: Using Integrated Threat Theory to explore home higher education students’ perspectives on ‘internationalisation at home’. British Educational Research Journal, 36(6), 877-902. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411920903191047

Islam, M. R., & Hewstone, M. (1993). Dimensions of contact as predictors of intergroup anxiety, perceived outgroup variability, and outgroup attitude: An integrative model. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 700-710. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167293196005

Jolly, S. K., & DiGiusto, G. M. (2014). Xenophobia and immigrant contact: French public attitudes toward immigration. The Social Science Journal, 51(3), 464-473. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soscij.2013.09.018

Kim, Y. (2016). Testing the mediating effects of resilience and mental health on the relationship between acculturative stress and binge drinking among international students [Doctoral dissertation, The Unıversıty Of Texas At Arlington]. UTA Libraries https://rc.library.uta.edu/uta- ir/bitstream/handle/10106/25895/KIM-DISSERTATION-2016.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Kotzur, P. F., Schäfer, S. J., & Wagner, U. (2019). Meeting a nice asylum seeker: Intergroup contact changes stereotype content perceptions and associated emotional prejudices, and encourages solidarity-based collective action intentions. British Journal of Social Psychology, 58(3), 668-690. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12304

Köşker, N., & Erdoğan, E. (2020). Trends in multicultural education research: A five-year content analysis of Turkish and ERIC databases. International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, 8(1), 48-60. http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.8n.1p.48

Larrotta, C., & Chung, H. (2020). Foreign-born TESOL instructors assisting adult immigrant learners to develop civic literacy skills: A Pen Pal Project. International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, 8(2), 1-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.8n.2p.1

Litvinova, A. V., & Tarasov, K. (2012). The psychological determinants causing tendency to xenophobia at students of humanitarian colleges. Problems of Psychology in the 21st Century, 3, 60-66.

McKinley, B., Robinson, M., & Somavia, J. (2001). International migration, racism, discrimination and xenophobia. ILO, IOM and OHCHR.

McLaren, L. M. (2003). Anti-immigrant prejudice in Europe: Contact, threat perception, and preferences for the exclusion of migrants. Social forces, 81(3), 909-936. https://doi.org/10.1353/sof.2003.0038

Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions. (2015). Deport xenophobia from European classrooms report. Coincil of Europe. https://rm.coe.int/1680707d25

Ommundsen, R., Yakushko, O., Van der Veer, K., & Ulleberg, P. (2013). Exploring the relationships between fear- related xenophobia, perceptions of out-group entitativity, and social contact in Norway. Psychological Reports, 112(1), 109-124.

Omoluabi, P. F. (2008). Psychological foundation of xenophobia. IFE PsychologIA: An International Journal, 16(2), 53-71. https://doi.org/10.4314/ifep.v16i3.23777

Padır, M. A. (2019). Examining xenophobia in Syrian refugees context: The roles of perceived threats and social contact. (Publication No. 535127) [Doctoral dissertation, Middle East Technical University]. YOK Thesis Center.

Parekh, B. (2000). Rethinking multiculturalism: Cultural diversity and political theory. Macmillan.

Peterie, M., & Neil, D. (2020). Xenophobia towards asylum seekers: A survey of social theories. Journal of Sociology, 56(1), 23-35. https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783319882526

Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49(1), 65-85. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.65

Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2006). A meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(5), 751-783. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.90.5.751

Schermelleh-Engel, K., Moosbrugger, H., & Müller, H. (2003). Evaluating the fit of structural equation models: Tests of significance and descriptive goodness-of-fit measures. Methods of Psychological Research Online, 8(2), 23-74.

Serin, H., & Bozdağ, F. (2020). Refugee children from the point of school administrators and teachers’ experiences. European Journal of Educational Research, 9(4), 1453-1470. https://doi.org/10.12973/eu-jer.9.4.1455

Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance: An intergroup theory of social hierarchy and oppression. Cambridge University Press.

Singh, R. J. (2013). Examining xenophobic practices amongst university students– a case study from Limpopo province. Alternation Special Edition, 7(1), 88-108.

Stafford, K. E. (2020). Predicting positive attitudes toward immigrants with altruism [Master’s thesis, University of Kentucky]. UK Nowledge. https://uknowledge.uky.edu/polysci_etds/30

Şen, E. Y. (2014). Etnik gruplarda sosyal kimlik ve algılanan ayrımcılık: Türk ve Kürt etnik grupları üzerine bir çalışma. (Tez No. 366456) [Yüksek lisans tezi, Ankara Üniversitesi]. YÖK Tez Merkezi.

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using multivariate statistics. Pearson Education.

Tafira, K. (2011). Is xenophobia racism?. Anthropology Southern Africa, 34(3-4), 114-121. https://doi.org/10.1080/23323256.2011.11500015

Tartaglia, S., Rollero, C., & Bergagna, E. (2020). Attitudes toward refugees in the Italian context. Psicologia Di Comunita, 13, 80-92. https://doi.org/10.3280/PSC2020-001006

Turner, R. N., Hodson, G., & Dhont, K. (2020). The role of individual differences in understanding and enhancing intergroup contact. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 14(6), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12533

Ünal, S. (2014). Türkiye›nin beklenmedik konukları:” Öteki” bağlamında yabancı göçmen ve mülteci deneyimi. Zeitschrift für die Welt der Türken/Journal of World of Turks, 6(3), 65-89.

Wagner, R. T. (2017). The significant influencing factors of xenophobia [Student scolarship, Olivet Nazarene University]. Digital Commons @ Olivet. https://digitalcommons.olivet.edu/educ_stsc/2

Wagner, U., Christ, O., Pettigrew, T. F., Stellmacher, J., & Wolf, C. (2006). Prejudice and minority proportion: Contact instead of threat effects. Social Psychology Quarterly, 69(4), 380-390. https://doi.org/10.1177/019027250606900406

Williams, J. H. (2020). Conceptualizing attitudes toward immigrants among undergraduate students attending a university in Southern Alberta [Master’s thesis, University of Lethbridge]. University of Lethbridge Research Repository. https://hdl.handle.net/10133/5732

Wilson, K. K. (2002). Promoting civic literacy. ERIC. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED466924.pdf

Yılmaz, F. (2008). Avrupa Birliği’nde ırkçılık ve yabancı düşmanlığı ile mücadele (Tez No. 228125) [Yüksek lisans tezi, Ankara Üniversitesi]. YÖK Tez Merkezi.

Yakushko, O. (2009). Xenophobia: Understanding the roots and consequences of negative attitudes toward immigrants. The Counseling Psychologist, 37(1), 36-66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011000008316034

Yoshida, K. (2015). A longitudinal examination of the effects of acculturation and mental health problems on immigrant father involvement: A cross-cultural study [Doctoral dissertation, Brigham Young University]. BYU Scholars Archive. http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/etd/5870

Zubashvili, N. (2020). Deconstructing and reconstructing attitudes towards immigrants: The case of Sweden [Master’s thesis, Lund University]. Lund University Libraries. http://lup.lub.lu.se/student-papers/record/9020672

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.8n.4p.87


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.