The primary objective of the current study is to examine the relations between a number of psychological and socio-economic factors, on the one hand, and social distance towards labor migrants on the other. Hence, this study takes up the question of the nature of the combined effects of locus of control, socio-economic status and economic-cultural threat perceptions upon the development of social distance towards labor migrants in Israel. In a field study in Israel in May 2003, attitudes of 383 participants towards labor migrants were tested according to their ascription to four different "socio-economic status" groups: academic-employed, academic-unemployed, non-academic-employed and non-academic-unemployed. The main findings show that, contrary to previous research, educational attainment and locus of control have no significant direct impact on social distance. Employment status, however, may have such an impact, but a negligible one. Yet these findings lend credence to socio-economic as well as personality theories on prejudicial attitudes. Namely, the effect of educational attainment and locus of control on social distance results from the mediation of threat perception. Unlike existing assumptions, neither lack of academic education nor external locus of control can be considered sole direct root causes of social distance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was made possible in part by the support of the National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa. The authors are grateful to Rebeca Raijman, Ayalla Ruvio, as well as to the editorial board and the anonymous reviewers, for valuable comments on earlier drafts.
- Educational attainment
- Employment status
- Locus of control
- Social distance
- Threat perception