2004
Volume 96, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0025-9454
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2816

Abstract

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic is posing a pathogen or even existential threat to people all across the globe. According to traditional literature, threat perceptions induce anti-immigrant sentiments, as ingroup identity and self-interest are strengthened at the expense of the outgroup. In this manuscript, we study whether the COVID-19 pandemic, as a universal and relatively novel threat, increases anti-immigrant sentiments akin to responses to realistic and symbolic threats frequently described in the literature. We also look at whether such responses are expressed more strongly among specific groups in Dutch society. To do so, we use unique longitudinal panel data based on the European Values Study 2017, representative of the Netherlands, with a repeated measure in May 2020, during the national lockdown. Based on structural equation modeling, we demonstrate that anti-immigrant sentiments have not increased due to (perceived threat of) the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, negative opinions towards immigrants decreased between 2017 and 2020 in the Netherlands, for which we provide alternative explanations. Although some subgroups do experience more threat than others due to the coronavirus, such as women, first generation immigrants, and the elderly, this does not lead to more negative feelings towards outgroups. Whether this is due to the fact that individuals feel pathogenically threatened by everyone, regardless of group membership, should be explored in future research.

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2021-05-01
2021-12-08
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