From compassion to controversy: Unraveling the impact of societal resilience on the tapestry of attitudes towards Ukrainian refugees

Arielle Kaim*, Shaul Kimhi, Maya Siman-Tov, Dalia Bankauskaite, Maria Baran, Tomasz Baran, Anatolie Cosciug, Yohannan Eshel, Salome Dumbadze, Manana Gabashvili, George Jiglau, Krzysztof Kaniasty, Alice Koubova, Hadas Marciano, Renata Matkeviciene, Marius Matichescu, Naomi Scholder, Dmitri Teperik, Jemal Sukhashvili, Bruria Adini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Global conflicts and geopolitical tensions are causing mass displacement, making refugee integration a pressing issue. The aftermath of Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine has resulted in over 5 million internally displaced Ukrainians and more than 8 million refugees settling across Europe. The success of their integration relies on the hospitality and attitudes of citizens of host nations. This study investigates factors influencing attitudes toward Ukrainian refugees in seven nearby countries, focusing on resilience, and both positive and negative coping mechanisms. Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study gathered data mostly through Internet panel samples from Georgia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Romania. The instruments employed in this present study include: attitudes towards refugees, societal resilience, individual resilience, community resilience, hope, morale, feeling safe at home, well-being, sense of danger, distress symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder, perceived threats, and government support. Results: Attitudes toward Ukrainian refugees vary across nations, with Georgia and Estonia displaying the highest acceptance (3.92 and 3.29, respectfully), and Slovakia and the Czech Republic (2.63 and 2.5, respectfully) exhibiting lower levels of positivity. Societal resilience emerged as a key factor influencing positive attitudes towards refugees. Other predictors included hope, individual and community resilience, PTSD, education, gender, and perceived threats. Females and higher-educated individuals expressed more favorable attitudes. Conclusions: Fostering societal resilience and positive coping strategies is essential for refugees' integration, with targeted interventions, educational programs, and awareness campaigns playing a significant role in building empathy and aiding their acceptance. Policies should encourage social inclusion and economic opportunities for refugees and host communities, addressing negative societal attitudes. These findings may inform crisis support and policies enhancing attitudes toward refugees in host communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104326
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Volume105
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Attitudes towards refugees
  • Coping mechanisms
  • Host community
  • Resilience
  • Ukraine

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