Disentangling Islamophobia: The Differential Effects of Symbolic, Realistic, and Terroristic Threat Perceptions as Mediators Between Social Dominance Orientation and Islamophobia


  • Fatih Uenal


The aim of this paper is threefold. First, based on ongoing theoretical discussions on the dimensionality of Islamophobia, this study analyzes whether Islamophobia empirically constitutes a one-dimensional construct or rather a multidimensional construct consisting of anti-Muslim prejudice and anti-Islam sentiment. Second, the effects of symbolic, realistic, and terroristic (safety) threats on Islamophobia were analyzed concurrently. Finally, within the framework of the revised Integrated Threat Theory (Stephan & Renfro, 2002), and in order to test the mediating effect of threats, SDO is tested as an antecedent of perceived threat and Islamophobia. Respondents from Berlin (N = 355) participated in an online survey. The results indicate that Islamophobia empirically constitutes a two-dimensional phenomenon, consisting of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiment. Whereas symbolic threat is related to both types of Islamophobia, realistic threat is associated only with anti-Muslim prejudice, and terroristic threat is associated only with anti-Islam sentiment. Finally, the results indicate that the relationship between SDO and both dimensions of Islamophobia is mediated by threats. Symbolic threats mediate the relationships between SDO and both dimensions of Islamophobia. Realistic threats mediate the relationship between SDO and anti-Muslim prejudice and terroristic threats between SDO and anti-Islam sentiment.