Moral Reasoning and Attitudes towards Refugees

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


This study examines the moral underpinnings of attitudes towards refugees, by applying insights from moral reasoning theories. We created and in two pilot studies validated a short self-report measure of two moral reasoning styles. Next, we used this measure to investigate perceived threats, emotions and public attitudes towards refugees in the Netherlands (N=223). The results showed that endorsing principles, as basis for moral judgments, is predictive of more supportive attitudes and positive emotions about the impact of refugees. In contrast, consequence-based reasoning attenuated support for refugees by placing the importance on the possible societal costs of accepting refugees. Our findings provide external validation for moral reasoning theories and contribute to the literature on positive attitudes towards refugees.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29-Jun-2017
EventISPP: Revisiting Core Themes of Tyranny, Intergroup Relations and Leadership - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 29-Jun-20172-Jul-2017
Conference number: 40


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • refugee crisis
  • moral reasoning
  • positive attitudes
  • threats

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