In-group Bias and Self-esteem as Indicators of Anti-Muslim Prejudice
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Currently in the United States, there is a growing hostility toward followers of the Islamic faith. Past research indicates that those who display in-group bias are more likely to show prejudice towards those in a minority out-group. Additionally, research shows that those who are low in self-esteem tend to exhibit prejudice against others in an out-group. Based on these theories, I hypothesized that individuals would respond with greater prejudice against religious out-group members, and that this effect would be more pronounced for those with lower self-esteem. Participants completed a series of questionnaires including measures of self-esteem, attitudes toward Muslims, religious beliefs, and national pride and patriotism. Participants also read scenarios describing a Muslim or a Christian engaging in religious behavior, then rated their impressions of the individuals. As predicted, Christian participants rated Muslims more negatively than Christians; however, contrary to prediction, self-esteem did not predict anti-Muslim prejudice. Findings are discussed in relation to religious in-group bias as a way to explain anti-Muslim prejudice.