Causes, consequences, and changes in sociopolitical ideologies in the U.S.


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In this dissertation, I examine two related but distinct sociopolitical ideologies: Christian nationalism and social dominance orientation. In paper one, I leverage data across four studies to examine the association between Christian nationalism and immigrant related attitudes and political policy in the U.S. Across these studies, Christian nationalism emerged as a robust predictor of negative attitudes toward immigrants and related policies. Importantly, intergroup threat explained these associations, suggesting threat is an important mechanism through which Christian nationalism relates to immigrant attitudes. In paper two, I examine how perceived threat to religion might fuel greater endorsement of Christian nationalism. Across two original experimental studies, I found that reminding Christian Americans that the number of Christians was declining in the U.S. elicited greater perceptions of threat to religion, which led to an increase in endorsement of Christian nationalist ideology and greater support for conservative politicians. Finally, in paper three, I examine changes in social dominance orientation among American college students, and test whether theoretically linked societal phenomena correlate with these changes. To do so, I conducted a cross-temporal meta-analysis. I found support for a non-linear trend over time, suggesting social dominance orientation increased between the years 1992 and 2007, but did not change between 2008 and 2018. Additionally, changes in social dominance orientation over time were most strongly associated with indices of competition and economic inequality.