Discrimination and prejudice have significant implications for individuals and communities and are prevalent throughout the world towards marginalised groups. This study investigated the role of psychological sense of community (PSOC), values of self‐transcendence and openness‐to‐change, and demographic variables, with attitudes towards two different groups in Australia.
A convenience sample of adults living in Australia (N = 396) was randomly assigned to complete one of two online surveys; reporting on their attitudes towards Australia’s First Nations People (N = 198), or towards people seeking asylum (N = 198). The study assessed the extent to which a PSOC (in reference to local, national, and global communities), self‐transcendence, and openness‐to‐change, predicted attitudes towards the two groups.
Self‐transcendence and psychological sense of global community consistently predicted attitudes towards both groups, with psychological sense of global community partially mediating the relationship between self‐transcendence and attitudes. Bivariately, those holding a stronger local psychological sense of community reported more positive attitudes towards people seeking asylum, whereas those holding a stronger psychological sense of national community reported more positive attitudes towards Australia’s First Nations People. However, in multivariable regression models with self‐transcendence and demographic characteristics, only a higher psychological sense of national community significantly predicted more negative attitudes towards people seeking asylum.
This research suggests that where people have a strong sense they are part of a global community they hold more positive attitudes towards people from various cultures both near and far. The research has implications for social cohesion and social policy.