Prejudice and Feeling of Threat towards Syrian Refugees: The Moderating Effects of Precarious Employment and Perceived Low Outgroup Morality

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 3;17(17):6411. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17176411.


Refugees frequently experience traumatic situations that result in the deterioration of their psychological well-being. In addition, perceived prejudice and discrimination against them by the host society can worsen their mental health. In this research study, using a Spanish sample, prejudice towards Syrian refugees is analyzed taking into account feeling of threat (realistic or symbolic), precarious employment, and perceived outgroup morality. Using a total of 365 participants, our results reveal that individuals feel more prejudice towards refugees when the former scored higher in realistic threat and symbolic threat, were in a highly precarious situation of employment and perceived refugees as being more immoral. Furthermore, it was found that persons who scored high in realistic threat and at the same time were in a situation of precarious employment, were those who displayed greater prejudice. The results likewise pointed to individuals who scored high in symbolic threat and in outgroup morality as being those who felt greater rejection towards the refugees. Accordingly, our results confirm the importance of feeling of threat in relation to prejudice, and highlight two important moderating factors: precarious employment and perceived outgroup morality.

Keywords: outgroup morality; precarious employment; prejudice; realistic and symbolic threat; refugees.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Employment*
  • Fear
  • Humans
  • Morals*
  • Prejudice*
  • Refugees*
  • Syria