National Identity and Public Attitudes Toward Multiculturalism in Canada: Testing the Indirect Effect via Perceived Collective Threat

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Abstract

This article integrates research on national identity and collective threat to examine how these 2 factors jointly contribute to the formation of multicultural ideology in Canada. Specifically, this article argues that ethnic and civic forms of national identity are associated with levels of perceived collective threat, thereby indirectly affecting multicultural attitudes (national identity → collective threat → multicultural attitudes). Results of structural equation modeling analyses indicated that (a) ethnic national identity is positively, and civic national identity is negatively, associated with collective threat; (b) the direct effect of ethnic national identity on multicultural attitudes disappears when collective threat is taken into account; and (c) the relationship between ethnic–civic national identity and multicultural attitudes is significantly mediated by collective threat. These findings imply that a shift from an ethnic to a civic (or ethnoculturally thinner) conception of nationhood reduces levels of outgroup threat and thereby indirectly generates positive multicultural ideology.

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