A global increase in forced displacement has led to rapid increases in the number of people seeking asylum. Negative attitudes toward these people are pervasive and the literature attempting to understand the prevalence and impact of these attitudes is growing. This article contains a meta‐analysis of the Australian quantitative research in this field.
We combined effect sizes from published and unpublished Australian data. The primary outcomes were effect size estimates for the correlations between reported attitudes towards asylum seekers and a range of demographic factors (age, gender, education, religious affiliation, political orientation, national identification) and ideological variables (right‐wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, social justice principles).
We identified 34 suitable studies (N
participants = 5,994). Demographic factors of gender, education, religious affiliation, political orientation, and national identification were related to attitudes. More specifically, being male, having less education, being more politically conservative, and higher in national identification were associated with more negative attitudes (rs = .08, –.18, .24, .23, and .15, respectively; ps < .01). Increases in right‐wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation, and decreases in macrojustice principles were also associated with more negative attitudes (rs = .49, .56, and –.28, respectively; ps < .05).
Most demographic factors were weakly or moderately related to attitudes. Ideological variables were stronger correlates, with right‐wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientations correlating the most strongly. Significant amounts of heterogeneity for most variables suggest that more research is needed to explore interactions between these variables, and to identify relevant moderators of these relationships.