Concern with COVID-19 pandemic threat and attitudes towards immigrants: The mediating effect of the desire for tightness

Silvana Mula, Daniela Di Santo, Elena Resta, Farin Bakhtiari, Conrad Baldner, Erika Molinario, Antonio Pierro, Michele J. Gelfand, Emmy Denison, Maximilian Agostini, Jocelyn J. Bélanger, Ben Gützkow, Jannis Kreienkamp, Georgios Abakoumkin, Jamilah Hanum Abdul Khaiyom, Vjollca Ahmedi, Handan Akkas, Carlos A. Almenara, Mohsin Atta, Sabahat Cigdem BagciSima Basel, Edona Berisha Kida, Allan B. I. Bernardo, Nicholas R. Buttrick, Phatthanakit Chobthamkit, Hoon-Seok Choi, Mioara Cristea, Sára Csaba, Kaja Damnjanovic, Ivan Danyliuk, Arobindu Dash, Karen M. Douglas, Violeta Enea, Daiane Gracieli Faller, Gavan Fitzsimons, Alexandra Gheorghiu, Ángel Gómez, Ali Hamaidia, Qing Han, Mai Helmy, Joevarian Hudiyana, Bertus F. Jeronimus, Ding-Yu Jiang, Veljko Jovanović, Željka Kamenov, Anna Kende, Shian-Ling Keng, Tra Thi Thanh Kieu, Yasin Koc, Kamila Kovyazina, Inna Kozytska, Joshua Krause, Arie W. Kruglanski, Anton Kurapov, Maja Kutlaca, Nóra Anna Lantos, Edward P. Lemay, Cokorda Bagus Jaya Lesmana, Winnifred R. Louis, Adrian Lueders, Najma Malik, Anton Martinez, Kira O. McCabe, Jasmina Mehulić, Mirra Noor Milla, Idris Mohammed, Manuel Moyano, Hayat Muhammad, Hamdi Muluk, Solomiia Myroniuk, Reza Najafi, Claudia F. Nisa, Boglárka Nyúl, Paul A. O'Keefe, Jose Javier Olivas Osuna, Evgeny N. Osin, Joonha Park, Gennaro Pica, Jonas Rees, Anne-Margit Reitsema, Marika Rullo, Michelle K. Ryan, Adil Samekin, Pekka Santtila, Edyta Sasin, Birga Mareen Schumpe, Heyla A. Selim, Michael Vicente Stanton, Wolfgang Stroebe, Samiah Sultana, Robbie M. Sutton, Eleftheria Tseliou, Akira Utsugi, Jolien Anne van Breen, Caspar J. van Lissa, Kees van Veen, Michelle R. vanDellen, Alexandra Vázquez, Robin Wollast, Victoria Wai-Lan Yeung, Somayeh Zand, Iris Lav Žeželj, Bang Zheng, Andreas Zick, Claudia Zúñiga, Pontus Leander

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Abstract

Tightening social norms is thought to be adaptive for dealing with collective threat yet it may have negative consequences for increasing prejudice. The present research investigated the role of desire for cultural tightness, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, in increasing negative attitudes towards immigrants. We used participant-level data from 41 countries (N = 55,015) collected as part of the PsyCorona project, a cross-national longitudinal study on responses to COVID-19. Our predictions were tested through multilevel and SEM models, treating participants as nested within countries. Results showed that people's concern with COVID-19 threat was related to greater desire for tightness which, in turn, was linked to more negative attitudes towards immigrants. These findings were followed up with a longitudinal model (N = 2,349) which also showed that people's heightened concern with COVID-19 in an earlier stage of the pandemic was associated with an increase in their desire for tightness and negative attitudes towards immigrants later in time. Our findings offer insight into the trade-offs that tightening social norms under collective threat has for human groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100028
JournalCurrent Research in Ecological and Social Psychology
Volume3
Early online date11 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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