SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • internal threat;
  • external threat;
  • right-wing ideological attitudes;
  • authoritarianism

Abstract

Objective

Previous studies on the relationship between threat and right-wing attitudes have tended to focus on either internal threat, emanating from one's private life, or external threat, originating from society. However, these studies failed to examine whether these types of threats constitute two distinctive dimensions and which of these threats is most closely related to right-wing attitudes.

Method

In order to explore the dimensions underlying threat, a factor analysis on a variety of threat scales was conducted (Study 1; N = 300). Furthermore, in a meta-analysis (Study 2; total N = 22,086) and a questionnaire study in a large representative sample (Study 3, N = 800) the strength of the relationships of internal and external threat with right-wing attitudes were investigated.

Results

The present studies revealed that internal and external threat can be considered as two distinct dimensions underlying threat. Moreover, whereas external threat yielded strong relationships with right-wing attitudes, internal threat only explained a minor part of the variance in these attitudes.

Conclusions

External rather than internal threat underlies the relationship between threat and right-wing attitudes.