Homework, hostility, or happy hour? : testing predictors of domestic students’ attitudes toward international students

Rabinowitz, Karina Dawn
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The purpose of the current study is to better understand factors that influence U.S. domestic students’ attitudes toward and willingness to engage with international students. Despite increasing international student enrollment on U.S. university campuses (IIE, 2018) and international students’ well-documented frustration with campus culture (e.g., Ward, Boschner, & Furnham, 2005), there is an increasing need to better understand the factors that influence domestic students’ unenthusiastic, and occasionally antagonistic, reactions to the international community. The purpose of the current study is to test established predictors of prejudice against international students (i.e., intergroup anxiety, intercultural communication emotions, realistic threats, symbolic threats, negative stereotype endorsement, quantity and quality of contact, and social dominance orientation) as well as several individual level variables (i.e., gender, race, academic college) to better understand domestic student attitudes and inform future interventions aimed at supporting domestic-international student relationships. Hierarchical linear regressions were used to analyze data from four hundred and sixty-six domestic U.S. undergraduate students who responded to online surveys addressing these constructs. Results revealed that identifying as a woman and having experienced high-quality contact with international students predicted more positive general evaluations of international students. However, higher degrees of intergroup anxiety and intercultural communication emotions as well as higher quantity of contact with international students predicted a decrease in general evaluations. The current investigation also found that identifying as a woman, identifying as Latinx, and experiencing high-quality contact with international students predicted both academic and social willingness to engage with international students. Greater perception of realistic threats from international students and higher degrees of intercultural communication emotion endorsement predicted a decrease in willingness to engage socially and academically with international students. Implications for U.S. universities and future interventions are discussed.