Title

The World Is a Scary Place: Individual Differences in Belief in a Dangerous World Predict Specific Intergroup Prejudices

Publication Date

2018

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Research suggests that people chronically concerned with safety, as measured by the Belief in a Dangerous World (BDW) Scale, are prone to intergroup prejudice and likely to endorse negative stereotypes under conditions eliciting concern for safety. Using a sociofunctional, threat-based approach to prejudice, the current research tested whether people with high BDW report increased prejudice specifically toward groups stereotypically associated with safety-related threats compared to groups associated with unrelated threats. Studies 1 and 2 found that higher BDW predicts increased negativity, safety-related concern, and fear toward groups stereotypically associated with threats to safety (e.g., illegal immigrants and Muslims) compared to groups thought to pose unrelated threats (e.g., gay men and obese people). Study 3 activated concern for safety using a news story detailing increased crime (vs. a control story), finding an interaction between safety concern activation, target group, and BDW, such that situational threat concern elicited greater prejudice toward Mexican Americans, but not toward Asian Americans, from those participants with higher BDW. These studies suggest that individual differences in concern for safety predict specific prejudices (e.g., fear and social distancing) toward distinct groups rather than general outgroup negativity. © 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.

Publication Title

Group Processes and Intergroup Relations

Volume

21

Issue

4

First Page

584

Last Page

596

DOI

10.1177/1368430216670024

Version

post print (12 month embargo)

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