Unwelcome on Campus? Predictors of Prejudice Against International Students

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Abstract

International students provide many benefits to colleges and universities, but the campus climate they encounter is not always welcoming. The present study used a theoretical framework guided by predictors of prejudice to investigate a key aspect of climate: domestic students’ prejudice against internationals on campus. In a sample (N = 389) of domestic students attending a university with a large international student population, university identity, socialization with internationals, standardized college-admission test scores, and positive stereotypes predicted lower negative attitudes toward internationals (i.e., less prejudice against them). In contrast, negative stereotypes, conservatism, and support for President Trump predicted higher negative attitudes toward internationals. Whites held higher negative attitudes toward internationals than non-Whites. In a simultaneous regression analysis, university identity, standardized college-admission test scores, stereotypes, and Trump support all uniquely predicted negative attitudes toward internationals, suggesting that such attitudes are multiply determined. Moderational analyses revealed that for those most likely to hold negative attitudes toward internationals, greater socialization with internationals was related to lower negative attitudes toward them. Results suggest that colleges and universities may lower prejudice against internationals by boosting university identity and increasing high-quality interaction between international and domestic students.

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