Factors of tolerance toward immigrants: self-esteem & language diversity

The concept and content of tolerance, its role and importance in the modern world. Language diversity and self-esteem: interaction effect. Methodology: conceptualizing, operalizationalizing, methods. Distribution of tolerance toward immigrants.

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Factors of tolerance toward immigrants: self-esteem & language diversity


tolerance language immigrant

Tolerance is one of the most salient values in European civilization. The possibility for this to come about appeared in the hierarchy of European values after centuries of tough and bloody experience, although many thinkers and philosophers, including John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and J.J. Rousseau, have been studying and attempting to describe this term since the Middle Ages. The most important contribution in the process of giving particular importance to the value of tolerance was made in reaction to World War II, a war in which there was the attempt to completely annihilate specific groups of people, based solely on their belonging to the group (Jews, Romany, Homosexuals). One of the most influential international juridical acts our time, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, appeared in response to this war. In it, the value of tolerance was fixed in several articles, including the first one. However, the rapid changes in cultural and social life (in particular the process of globalization) pose a serious threat and challenge to tolerance today. The increasing waves of immigration are bringing more and more people to Europe who differ from locals in their language and cultural traditions. Graph 1 illustrates this process in Norway, a country with one of the highest levels of immigration in Europe. For this reason, research aiming to better understand the factors which determine tolerance levels in modern society is of increasing importance. In this paper we consequently test two hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1

Firstly, on an individual level, we are considering self-esteem. According to our hypothesis, people with higher self-esteem tend to be more tolerant because there is less probability for them to use discrimination against minorities as a method of increasing their own level self-esteem.

Hypothesis 2

On a societal level, we consider the level of language diversity. We assume that in the societies with a higher rate of language diversity, people tend to be less tolerant toward immigrants because the more people there are who differ from an individual, the stronger a threat to tolerance it poses.

Hypothesis 3

Finally, we assume that there is a significant interaction between self-esteem and language diversity in regards to tolerance towards immigrants: the expected negative effect of language diversity will be significant only among people with a low level of self-esteem.

To test our hypotheses, we are going to used data from the 6th wave of the European Social Survey. Our main methods of investigation are Structural Equation Modeling and Multilevel Modeling.

Graph 1. Immigration to Norway

The paper is organized as follows. Firstly, we review the corresponding literature and provide arguments for each of our hypotheses. Then we suggest our approaches for conceptualizing and operationalizing of the key-notions of the paper: tolerance to immigrants, self-esteem and language diversity. Further, we provide an explanation for our empirical model, as well as methods and data used to test it. After this, we present our findings, and finally, we highlight the vulnerable moments of our paper, suggesting possible solutions. We also provide some possible policy implications, which can be derived from our findings.

1. Tolerance and its predictors


Michal Shamir and Tammy Sagiv-Schifter have determined three major groups of approaches to intergroup relations in social psychology: Social Identity Theory, Realistic Conflict Theory and Personality Theories (Shamir & Sagiv?Schifter, 2006). Due to the tasks of this research, we are interested in the first and third groups of theories.

Social Identity Theory

According to Social Identity Theory, social categorization is a universal phenomenon. At the beginning of the 1990's, professor Marilynn Brewer of Ohio University started creating her famous Optimal Distinctiveness Theory (Brewer, 1991; Brewer 2003). This theory, which was proved in a series of experiments, assumes that each person aspires to achieve a balance between their need for inclusion and assimilation on the one hand, and a need to be different on the other hand. People with low self-esteem tend to strive for stronger inclusion in the group which shares their interests (usually a majority or privileged group), while at the same time striving for stronger differentiation from the out-groups. The resulting aspiration can take the form in the discrimination against out-groups (usually a minority or unprivileged group). This scheme can explain why patriots, who usually associate strongly with the majority, frequently display a discriminatory behavior towards out-groups (usually immigrants, people who don't speak the native language, people who look different etc.). Henry Tajfel and John Turner suggest that there is a strong association between self-concept and social categorization. Social categorization, and social comparison as a consequence, are the powerful cognitive tools to cope with a social environment, because they provide the system of orientation for self-reference: they create and define the individual's place in society (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Hence, favorable comparisons between the out-group and the in-group play an important role in the process of creating a positive self-esteem, which is natural for individuals (meaning that all individuals try to achieve and maintain a positive self-esteem). In other words, individuals aspire to be members of a group, which is distinctly more positive from other relevant groups. If for some reason this condition stops working, they will either transfer to a even more positively distinct group or try to improve the conditions in their existing group. We can also assume that in order to achieve favorable comparisons and/or increase positive distinctiveness between in-group and out-group members, individuals can tend to belittle the merits of out-group members or even express discriminatory behavior towards them.

Personality Theories

The third approach, Personality Theories, can be characterized by attributing intolerant behavior toward members of out-groups to the personal characteristics of an individual. Among most salient representatives of this approach are members of Frankfurt School, who created and develop the theories on Authoritarian Personality (Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik & Levinson, 1950). In his well-known book, Escape from Freedom, Erich Fromm attributes the authoritarian personality to a low level of self-esteem (Fromm, 1941). One aspect of this personality type is that the subject often has open or concealed negative attitudes towards minorities, which easily become salient in certain circumstances (for instance when the corresponding propaganda is distributed by the government or when the surrounding group tends to demonstrate negative attitudes toward members of an out-group). According to J. Smolik, The authoritarian personality also has a strong unconscious feeling of hatred towards the parents but represses this negative feeling with feelings aimed against `safer' targets - minorities that constitute `alien' groups (Smolik 2008).

2. Language Diversity

As we define tolerance as the acceptance of other who may differ from oneself, we assume that the more different are people surrounding you the harder it is to keep being tolerant. From a group rather than individualistic point of view we may say that there are certain limits to which one group can absorb the people from other groups, while remaining tolerant to their differences. This idea can be found in literature as well. For instance, David Goodhart in the famous book The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-war Immigration claims that high immigration can undermine national solidarity and be a threat to social democratic ideals of the welfare state (Goodhart, 2013).

Among other indicators of society diversity such as ethnic and religious diversity, which are frequently used in social research (Alesina et al, 2003; Fearon, 2003), we decided to choose the indicator of language diversity due to the following reasons.

Firstly, people from different ethnic groups can share the same attitudes and worldview, which minimize the negative effect of diversity on tolerance. People speaking different languages can also share the same attitudes and worldview, but there are going to be more obstacles in the process of their communication. Additionally, different language is a very salient feature and the other can be more easily recognized and assessed as somebody who differs from the majority. As it was pointed by Richard Bourhis and Howard Giles (Bourhis & Giles, 1977) speech can be among the most salient dimensions of their <ethnic and national groups> social identities.

Secondly, language is a powerful tool of forming our mindsets. While one keeps speaking his/her native language, he/she keeps being attached to the culture of this language and, if this language differs from the local one, used by majority, less absorbed in the culture of majority. Again this person is going to be more different and hence it can be harder for an average person to express tolerance toward him/her.

Alesina et al. (2003) point that in the United States or in Latina America countries using language diversity may not be the best method of measuring fractionalization as their societies are relatively homogeneous in terms of language spoken. However in our case it's not an obstacle as we work with a European sample.

Fred Genese and Richard Bourhis (Genese & Bourhis, 1988), who share social psychological perspective on the dynamics of language switching in cross-cultural communication, highlight that in case when a person doesn't consider convergence to an outgroup language as useful linguistic dissimilarities may <> be a serious stumbling block to intergroup harmony. This idea was empirically shown in the research, conducted by Giles (Giles, 1973) with bilingual English-Canadians and French-Canadians. It was found out that the first ones perceive the second group more positively when its members switch from French to English, than when they keep speaking French.

Not just speaking a different language itself can be an obstacle in the communication between immigrants and locals, but also the features of the language they speak. Tajfel, Giles and Bourhis (Tajfel, Giles & Bourhis, 1973) used matched-guise technique in order to show that another's language, dialect or accent can be an important cue in forming an impression of that person. The idea of this technique is following. Participants of the experiment are required to hear apparently different people, reading the same neutral passage. Each person who reads the passage demonstrates a different accent or dialect. After this the participants, who heard the texts, are required to evaluate speaker's personality on bipolar adjective scales. The idea is that actually all texts were read by the same person. As such the judgments of the ones, who were listening, are mirroring the impact of the type of language, spoken by a person, on the perception personality, which it has. In their experiment Tajfel, Giles and Bourhis used three groups of Welsh - Bilinguals, those who were learning Welsh and those who couldn't speak Welsh and weren't learning it either. They heard those who read in Welsh with a South Welsh dialect, in South Welsh-accented English and RP-accented (received pronunciation) English. According to the results of the experiment listeners perceive the first group (ones who read in Welsh with a South Welsh dialect) more favorably than the second one (those who read in South Welsh-accented English), and the second group in its turn more favorably than the last one (RP-accented English). Such hierarchy of evaluation of speakers was observed on seven scales which were: conservatism, patriotism, being romantic, being nationalistic, emotions, desirable as a superior and like to be like speaker.

It may look like we are considering language diversity as an obstacle to the development of societies; however it's not the case. Vice versa a number of studies demonstrate that language diversity can lead to the prosperity of societies (Florida, 2002). So we just would like to highlight that the process of the language diversity influence on social processes is complex, diverse and not unidimensional.

3. Language Diversity and Self-esteem: Interaction Effect

As we have described above, there is higher probability that people with low level of self-esteem will express intolerant attitudes toward members of outgroups. So we assume that the effect of other predictors of intolerant behavior will be stronger among people with a low level of self-esteem than among those with a high level of self-esteem. In our case, we are interested in particular in the effect of language diversity on tolerance toward immigrants among groups of people with a different level of self-esteem. Tendency to belittle merits of outgroups's members, which people with low level of self-esteem already have, may be reinforced by such factor as language diversity. In contrast people who are confident enough with high probability won't express intolerant behavior toward outgroup members regardless of social, economic, political and cultural characteristics of surrounding environment.

4. Methodology: conceptualizing, operalizationalizing, methods


Plenty of approaches to conceptualizing and operationalizing the term tolerance can be found in both recent works and the works, which are considered as classics of political philosophy and social sciences. We are going to highlight just the most important milestones in the process of development of the term tolerance in the West.

The origins of modern understanding of this term are going back to the Middle Ages, the period of intra-Christian debates, that flourished after the Reformation. Being of all the great world religions past and present, <> by far the most intolerant (Zagorin, 2003), step by step Chrisitanity was coming closer and closer to the necessity to create some guidelines for debates between supporters of different perspectives, worldviews, between representatives of different confessions. That is why it was the West which stood in need of antidote for its internecine religious strife (Vogt, 2006). The further history of the West has just reinforced the need for tolerance toward differences between people. Among events, which probably made the most contribution to the process of reinforcing the importance of tolerance in Contemporary period were slavery in the US and World War II. Finally the special Declaration of Principles on Tolerance was created by UNESCO. It defines tolerance as follows:

Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and belief. Tolerance is harmony in difference. It is not only a moral duty, it is also a political and legal requirement. Tolerance, the virtue that makes peace possible, contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace. 

Today as well as centuries ago the increasing need for understanding the nature of tolerance and its limits relates also to inter-religious conflicts, namely Christianity and Islam, and secular-religious conflict. As the number of immigrants from Muslim countries in the West is increasing and, consequently, the number of interactions between them and local inhabitants is increasing as well, the question about the value of tolerance toward differences between people arises again.

In our research we would like to check our hypothesis using the international sample of European Social Survey.

There is a number of questions, aiming to gain the opinion of respondents about the right of different groups of people to come to live in their country.

To what extent do you think [country] should allow people [the description of a group] to come and live here?

There are separate questions for each of following groups:

1) People of the same race or ethnic group as most [country]'s people

2) People of a different race?or ethnic group from most [country] people

Next questions relevant to our research are the following:

Would you say that [country]'s cultural life is generally undermined or enriched by people coming to live here from other countries?

Is [country] made a worse or a better place to live by people coming to live here from other countries?

The answer scale contains 11-points, mirroring different degrees of agreement.

The last two questions of European Social Survey are of our main interest due to the following reasons. Firstly, they have a much bigger distribution of answers than previous questions and this allows us to measure tolerance more precisely. Secondly, these questions fix more general attitudes toward the people who are coming to live from other countries. Previous questions are more direct and may, as we wrote above, lead to biased answers because of people's natural aspiration to show socially approved attitudes.


The concept of self-esteem in its modern understanding is a relatively new one. The discussion about this in psychology started with the famous book written by William James (James, 1891). The main idea about self-esteem according to James is that all human beings want to feel good about themselves and as a consequence they are motivated to increase their level of self-esteem. Other researchers of this area added more important features of the self-esteem phenomenon. For instance, according to Michael Rosenberg people also try to support a persistent perspective of themselves (Rosenberg, 1965).

Just in the second part of XX century scholars discovered that self-esteem can be considered as a two-dimensional concept. The first dimension was named global self-esteem and was aimed at measuring overall self-esteem of a person. The second dimension was named a role-specific self-esteem. The supporters of the second approach assumed that there is a great number of self-esteems in accordance with the number of our identities.

The most popular scale used numerous times in different researches is Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). This scale conatins 10 questions aiming to measure global self-esteem. Gray-Little et. al (1997) proved that RSIS meet criteria of reliability and validity. Due to the absence of all ten items in big multidisciplinary surveys some researchers use partial RSES including the available variables, which can contain just three or four questions from the Scale.

W. Robins and his colleagues (Robins et al 2001) suggest an alternative approach to measuring global self-esteem: Single Item Measure, using just one question I have high self-esteem. The creators of SIM proved that such a measure is reliable and valid and can provide a practical alternative to RSES.

In our research we are going to create an integrated indicator of self-esteem on the basis the RSIS. More details about its measurement may be found in Appendix.

5. Language diversity

The most popular method of measuring language diversity is the so-called Greenberg's Diversity Index, proposed by a famous American linguist Joseph Greenberg more than fifty years ago (Greenberg, 1956). He suggested to measure linguistic diversity using the following scheme: if from a given area we choose two members of the population at random, the probability that these two individuals speak the same language can be considered as a measure of linguistic diversity.

Let's illustrate this method using a simple artificial example. Imagine a city with three linguistic groups. 2/4 of the population speak language A, 1/ 4 speak language B and 1/4 speak language C. The GDI (Greenberg's Diversity Index) in this case is going to be computed as following:

GDI = 1-?(i2)

where i states the share of population speaking a certain language.

In our case GDI should be computed this way:

GDI= 1 - ((2/4) 2 + (1/4) 2 + (1/4)2) = 1 - 3/8=5/8

This means that in our artificial city language diversity is high.

Probably the main drawback of this method, which Greenberg named Monolingual Nonweighted Method, is that it doesn't take into account the extent to which languages differ from each other. In order to fill this gap Greenberg suggested Monolingual Weighted Method. In this method the new argument appears, which is the extent to which two given languages resemble each other. With this addition original formula used as follows:

GDI = 1-?(ab) (rAB)

Where a stands for squared share of population, who speak language A, and r stands for the coefficient, mirroring the extent to which two chosen languages resemble each other.

The second Monolingual Weighted Method seems to be more desirable as it allows taking more precise information about the real extent of language diversity. However the only data available to us, which contains the information about language diversity in European countries after 2000's is the data, provided by UNESCO and in this data there is no information about similarities between languages. That is why we are going to use Monolingual Nonweighted Method in our research.

6. Databases

The analysis is based on the 6th wave of European Social Survey - international survey, which was conducted in 2012. It measures the attitudes, beliefs and behavioral patterns of diverse populations in more than thirty nations. The sample for each country is representative of all persons aged 15 and over (there is no age limit) and fits requirements of a minimum effective sample size (1500 for each country, except the ones, where the populations is under 2 million). The samples include residents within private households, regardless of their citizenship and language. Using ESS, we measure self-esteem, tolerance toward immigrants and a number of control variables, which are age, level of education and feeling of safety. To measure language diversity we use the data from UNESCO. The detailed description of the approach to measuring this component you may find in the corresponding paragraph. Classification of the citizenship regime types is based on the approach, proposed by Steve Weldon (2006). We delete Belgium from our dataset because specific features of this state may bring bias into our results.

The detailed description of the variables measurement may be found in appendix.

7. Structural Equation Modeling

Structural Equation Modeling allows one to check the associations between latent variables as well as between latent variables and observed indicators. In our case we have two latent variables: one, measuring tolerance toward immigrants (TTI) and one, measuring self-esteem (SE). We also add to a model a number of control variables, which are age, education and feeling of safety. Graph 1 demonstrates what our model looks like.

Graph 2

To assess the quality of the model we should look at the three most popular fit measures, which are Comparative Fit Index (CFI), Root Mean Square Error of Aproximation (RMSEA) and Standardized Root Mean Square (SRMR). As we are using international sample we also should check if our model meets the requirements of measurement invariance. This point is very important for any international research. While we conduct our research, we rely on a strong assumption that we measure the same constructs, used in our model - tolerance to immigrants, self-esteem - among countries. However although the countries, included in our model are all from the same region, which is Europe, some countries significantly differ from each other by their historical background, cultures, prevailing religion, language etc. For instance, Greece and Germany or France and Bulgaria. Measuring invariance allows checking whether the constructs we use in our model are of the same nature among countries. In other words we need to be sure that we compare comparable constructs, that respondents have similar understanding and perception of questions and cultural differences don't add bias to their answers.

Tables 2-4 demonstrate fit measures for 1) tolerance toward immigrants latent variable 2) self-esteem latent variable, 3) overall model.

Table 2. Tolerance toward Immigrants. Fit Measures

Model without restrictions

Model with restrictions (equal loadings, metric invariane)



Comparative Fir Index



The higher the better (the best - 1)




Should be around 0,05, the lower the better




< 0,08

Table 3. Self-Esteem. Fit Measures

Model without restrictions

Model with restrictions (equal loadings, metric invariance)

Desirable values

Comparative Fir Index



The higher the better (the best - 1)




Should be around 0,05, the lower the better




< 0,08

Table 4. SEM. Fit Measures

Model without restrictions

Model with restrictions (equal loadings, metric invariance)



Comparative Fir Index



The higher the better (the best - 1)




Should be around 0,05, the lower the better




< 0,08

As the tables above demonstrate fit measures are sufficient to empirically accept the model.

8. Multilevel Modeling

Our multilevel model looks as follows:

Tolerance toward immigrants = Self-esteem + LDI + (SE*LDI) + Individualistic type regime + Age + Education + Feeling of safety

Before we start using multilevel modeling we should check if it makes sense to use it. In other words we need to check if the variation of our variable of interest is different enough among countries. In order to test it Intra Cluster Correlation is commonly used in statistics. A mathematical formula for ICC looks as follows:

sb - is between-cluster variance,

sw - is within cluster variance

The ICC for tolerance toward immigrants, measured by question Would you say that a [country]'s cultural life is generally undermined or enriched by people coming to live here from other countries?, is 0,123. Such a value is high enough to continue our analysis, using multilevel modeling.

We computed eight models (see Table 5 and Table 6).

Table 5

Table 6

In all models significant positive association between different indicators of TTI and SE was found. Such a result supports our hypothesis about a positive association between self-esteem and tolerance. People with higher level of self-esteem tend to express intolerant behavior less than those, who hold low level of self-esteem. Such result fits the theory about authoritarian personality, suggested by Fromm (1941).

The interaction effect between SE and LDI has a significant negative association with different indicators of TTI: the negative effect of language diversity is significant only among people with low and moderate level of self-esteem (see Graph 3).

Graph 3

There is a significant negative association between LDI and different indicators of TTI. It means that higher level of language diversity leads to the lower level of tolerance toward immigrants. This result confirms our second hypothesis. It's harder to keep being tolerant in a more diverse society in comparison with a less diverse one. Hearing one speaking different language may reinforce unconscious feeling of threat and, consequently, negative attitudes toward him/her. Coming from another country by definition, immigrants speak at least one language, differing from a local one. Hence, newcomers can be easily and even unconsciously identified as members of outgroups, toward which one can express intolerant attitudes.

All our control variables, measuring age, education and feeling of threat among respondents were highly significant in all models. As we expected higher level of education leads to higher level of tolerance as well as the lack of feeling of threat. Younger respondents tend to be more tolerant as well as well as citizens in states with individualistic citizen regime type.

9. Discussion


The idea of importance of psychological characteristics for the formation of the attitudes toward members of outgroups is not new. Dineson, Klemmenson and Norgaard (2014) investigated the role of personal predisposition in the formation of attitudes toward the immigration. Using the Big five personality traits and data from Danish experiment survey the authors showed that personality is important for attitudes toward immigration. Caprara et al. (Caprara, Shwartz, Capanna, Vecchione, Barabaranelli, 2006) and also demonstrated that traits (Big Five model) and values (Shwartz model) matter in determining political preferences of an individual. They also proved that values surpass personality traits in the process of forming political choice, which also includes attitudes toward immigration.

Our paper contributes to this discussion. Using recent data from the 6th wave of European Social Survey we showed that self-esteem matters in understanding of the process of formation attitudes toward immigrants: individuals with a higher level of self-esteem tend to have more positive attitudes than the ones with a lower one level. Such a conclusion goes along with well-known theories from social psychology (Fromm, 1941; Adorno, 1950; Tajfel & Turner, 1979; Brewer, 2003).

Firstly, aspiring for a stronger inclusion into the group of his/her interest, an individual with a low level of self-esteem may express negative attitudes toward members of an outgroup (to which immigrants usually can be referred). Such behavior can be described as the attempt for stronger differentiation from outgroups, which is the other side of the coin of the aspiration for stronger inclusion.

Secondly, there is a strong association between self-esteem and social categorization. Social comparison as part of social categorization process can act as a powerful cognitive tool to cope with social environment, because it provides the system of orientation for self-reference (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Most people evaluate themselves by comparing their achievements and failures faults to those of with others. Hence in order to improve one's own relative self-esteem an individual can belittle the merits of outgroup members or even express discriminatory behavior toward them.

The idea about a potential negative effect of low self-esteem on the tolerance toward the members of outgroups is not a new one. However, our research still provides new insights in this area as this idea has never been tested in terms of tolerance toward immigrants, using statistical methods. The results obtained in this research can be distributed to the whole statistical population in contrast with the results obtained in experiments.

The research, in which a similar idea was partly tested, was conducted by Steve Weldon (Weldon, 2005). However, in this research Weldon: 1) measures not the tolerance toward immigrants, but the tolerance toward for ethnic minorities, 2) due to the lack of proper indicators of self-esteem in Eurobarometer, the author is using indicator of personal efficacy, which is interrelated with self-esteem, but still can't be used as a substitute as it measures a conceptually different phenomenon.

Language diversity

Again it's not a new idea that in more diverse societies a threat to tolerance toward the members of outgroups is higher than in more homogeneous ones. Facing any kind of differences arises evokes a feeling of threat at least on an unconscious level, because one of the main human fears is the fear of unknown and the person, who in any way differs from ourselves, is unknown to for us. If we switch from an individualistic to a group point view, we also may also say that there are certain limits to which one group can absorb the people from other groups, while remaining tolerant toward their differences. Being a powerful tool of forming one's mindset and also being a very salient feature of otherness, language is a good indicator of the society diversity.

Since 1960-s, when the growth of immigrant communities in Europe has become a salient process, many people, including politicians, civic activists and researchers, have been thinking about the model, which would will better cope with the increasing diversity of different societies. Language diversity has been in a primary focus alongside with religious and cultural diversity. Some researchers argue that in liberal democracies governments should provide immigrants rights to use their own language in both private and public sphere (Baubock, 2003). Such an idea sounds good and follows goes accordingly to the main liberal principle, which is freedom of individual expression. However, this policy (its second part regarding public sphere) can be considered as a contradictory one in terms of harmonic intergroup relations in multilingual society. In this paper, using Greenberg's approach to measure language diversity, we showed that in the societies with a higher rate of Language Diversity Index people tend in on average tend to be less tolerant toward immigrants.

Language Diversity and Self-esteem

According to our findings, there is a significant interaction effect of language diversity and self-esteem on tolerance toward immigrants, measured by the three separate indicators. These results confirms our third hypothesis. Tendency to express intolerant attitudes toward outgroups's members, which people with a low level of self-esteem already have, may be reinforced by other factors of intolerance such as language diversity. By contrast, people who are enough self-confident enough are with high probability are less likely to express intolerant behavior toward outgroup members regardless of social, economic, political and cultural characteristics of the surrounding environment.


Our hypotheses about the existence of positive association between self-esteem and the tolerance toward immigrants, negative association between language diversity and tolerance toward immigrants and a significant interaction effect between them were supported by empirical evidence. Such a result proves one more time that the reasons of discriminatory behavior toward immigrants, its roots may: a) have a psychological dimension, b) be of a different nature.

What kind of practical implications can be suggested?

Hypothesis 1. Self-esteem and Tolerance to immigrants

First of all such a result can be taken into account by the politicians as well as the NGOs, aspiring to decrease the level of discrimination and intolerance in their countries. There should be higher awareness about the importance of sustaining not just the economic development of a the state, but also a healthy psychological environment. The conditions of mental health shouldn't be of less importance than the conditions of physical health, or economic and ecological indicators, although they are all apparently interconnected. In order to make psychological environment more healthy, different measures can be taken. For example, the number of free psychological centers offering their help for free should be increased and the practice of attending psychotherapists frequently needs to be popularized. As it was said by modern Russian writer Linor Goralik, most people keep physical hygiene, but much less people keep psychological hygiene, although the latter is not of less importance than the former. According to Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (Olfson, 2010), even in the USA, the country usually perceived as the one, in which psychotherapy is a more common phenomenon than in other countries, the number of people who, used psychotherapy in 2008 was just 3,18% of the whole all population.

Hypothesis 2. Language diversity and tolerance toward immigrants

Regarding language diversity, we may conclude that it's important to have at least one language, which can be easily used by all inhabitants of a the country. In order to make this happen, state institutions should take the responsibility of creating enough language centers so that as all new comers would have an opportunity to learn local language(/s).

For instance, in Israel each new immigrant has a right to attend a 5 - months free language courses (ulpans). Taking into account that Israeli society is highly diverse in terms of cultural background, religiosity, countries of citizens's origin, it is crucially important for the state to have at least one common language. Israeli experience can be taken into account by other countries, which have problems related to multilingual society. Finally, we assume that the requirements for language knowledge the level of language competence, essential for receiving work visas and citizenships, also should also be more improved.


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