Brothers, ants or thieves: students’ complex attitudes towards immigrants and the role of socioeconomic status and gender in shaping them
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The ever-increasing presence of immigrants in Italian schools make these contexts important for the study of young peoples’ attitudes towards those who are new to a country. We analysed the metaphors regarding immigrants produced by a sample of 840 eighth-grade students. The results of a content analysis showed nine complex attitudes referring to different conceptual frames, such as adolescents’ perception of immigrants as part of a primary social group, as a source of possible wealth, as something troublesome or annoying, as a transient phenomenon that is unlikely to be integrated into society and various others. The results of a multinomial logistic regression indicated that boys have more feelings of annoyance as regard immigrants than girls. A higher socioeconomic background is associated with ambivalent attitudes toward immigrants (who are seen as being needy, as a resource but also as a threat). Possible behavioural implications of the adolescents’ views of minority social and cultural groups are discussed.
KeywordsAttitudes towards immigrants Adolescents Metaphors Socioeconomic status Gender
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Each school dealt with the process of informed consent and parental permission according to a National assessment protocol provided by the National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education and Training System (INVALSI).
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