Volume 8

College Students’ Perceptions of Religious Prejudice

Kathy Lombardo

Recent world events have led to an increased awareness of religious differences. Past research has shown that Christians who are extrinsically religious exhibit greater levels of racial prejudice than those that are intrinsically religious. The present study asked 180 undergraduate students (138 women) to read one of six scenarios which varied the scenario character’s religion (Buddhist, Christian, Muslim) with level of religiosity (intrinsic, extrinsic). Participants then answered questions about the scenario character’s prejudice toward other religions. In addition, participants completed personality measures of social desirability, religiosity, and prejudice toward other religions. Participants perceived intrinsically religious scenario characters to be more prejudiced toward other religions than extrinsically religious scenario characters. A low, positive correlation was found between perceived prejudice of the scenario character and personal prejudice for participants who were low in social desirability. The study did not find that participants perceived a difference in prejudice levels of the three religions.

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