The Impact of Media Reliance on the Role of Perceived Threat in Predicting Tolerance of Muslim Cultural Practice


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Campbell White, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 2119, Australia. E-mail:


Two studies explored the role of perceived threat in predicting White Australians' acculturation preferences for Muslim immigrants, with particular focus on the impact of their reliance on the mass media. In Study 1, students completed a survey that indicated that their tolerance of Muslim practice was largely explained by their general attitudes to multiculturalism. However, among those who were highly reliant on the media, symbolic threat from Muslims played an additional role, with those who perceived more threat being less tolerant. Study 2 further explored these findings in a second survey that included other measures of threat that comprise the integrated threat theory. While intergroup anxiety was the form of threat with the strongest main effect on tolerance, the impact of symbolic threat was again moderated by reliance on the mass media. The implications for understanding the role of media in facilitating interethnic disharmony were discussed.