SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.18 issue2Empowerment and sense of injustice in primary care workers of SUSAffects and personality: their relationships in college students author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Psicologia: teoria e prática

Print version ISSN 1516-3687

Psicol. teor. prat. vol.18 no.2 São Paulo Aug. 2016 



The impact of multicultural personality on tolerance of diversity in a sample of portuguese university students1


O impacto da personalidade multicultural na tolerância à diversidade em alunos de uma universidade portuguesa


El impacto de la personalidad multicultural en la tolerancia al diversidad en estudiantes de una universidad portuguesa



Liliia KorolI; Gabriela Gonçalves Maria CabralII

INational University of Ostroh Academy, Ostroh - Ukraine
IIUniversidade do Algarve, Faro - Portugal

Endereço para correspondência




This article focused on studying the impact of multicultural personality on tolerance towards diversity among a sample of 245 Portuguese university students. With the use of correlation analysis, the findings revealed that all multicultural personality dimensions (cultural empathy, open-mindedness, emotional stability, social initiation, and flexibility) were highly associated with tolerance of diversity, demonstrating close relationship between multicultural personality and tolerance to representatives of different cultural background. At the same time, only open-mindedness was investigated to be positive predictor of tolerance in intercultural context. Practical implications of the research are also discussed.

Keywords: tolerance; multicultural personality; intercultural; diversity; Portugal.


O presente artigo examina a relação entre a personalidade multicultural e a tolerância à diversidade, junto de um grupo de 245 alunos universitários portugueses. As análises de correlação permitiram observar a relação entre as várias dimensões da personalidade multicultural (empatia cultural, abertura de espírito, iniciação social e flexibilidade) conforme definição do constructo e do instrumento de medida e a existência de uma forte associação entre a personalidade multicultural e a tolerância a membros de diferentes comunidades culturais. Simultaneamente, o fator 'abertura de espírito' revelou-se como um preditor positivo de tolerância em contextos interculturais. São ainda discutidas no estudo implicações práticas dos resultados encontrados.

Palavras-chave: tolerância; personalidade multicultural; interculturalidade; diversidade; Portugal.


En este artículo se analiza la relación entre la personalidad multicultural y la tolerancia a la diversidad basada en un grupo de 245 estudiantes universitarios portugueses. El análisis de correlación permitió observar la relación entre las diversas dimensiones de la personalidad multicultural (la empatía cultural, la apertura mental, iniciación social y flexibilidad), de acuerdo con la construcción y el instrumento de medición. Se observó que existe una fuerte asociación entre la personalidad multicultural y la tolerancia para los miembros de las diferentes comunidades culturales. Simultáneamente, el factor de la "apertura mental" resultó ser un predictor positivo de la tolerancia en contextos interculturales. Además, se discuten las implicaciones prácticas de estos resultados.

Palabras clave: tolerancia; personalidad multicultural; interculturalidad; diversidad; Portugal.



Cultural mosaic and multiculturalism being today's realities function as integral characteristics of the modern world and, thus, determine the main trends of its future development. Nearly all countries on the globe have been turning into heterogeneous societies comprising a mixture of ethnic, cultural, and religious groups (Pettigrew, 1998b; Putnam, 2007; Roccas & Amit, 2011). Mutual understanding and cooperation between various communities is essential not only to communal and world peace, but also to the very survival of societies (Agius & Ambrosewicz, 2003). It is tolerance that is seen as a cornerstone in maintaining good relations between people of different ethnicities, cultures, and religions (Shirmer, Weidenstedt & Reich, 2012).

Tolerance is viewed as an essential fundamental for highly developed societies, namely those encompassing deeply divergent lifestyles (Oberdiek, 2001). The meanings of the tolerance concept are diverse ranging from classical definition involving forbearance of others and their ideas to neo-classical one explaining tolerance as appreciation and acceptance of others' ideas, behavior, and beliefs (Oberdiek, 2001; Robinson, Witenberg & Sanson, 2001; von Bergen, C. W., von Bergen, B. A., Stubblefield, & Bandow, 2012).

Tolerance as forbearance is usually understood as "putting up with something you do not like" (Vogt, 1997, p. 1), "willingness to put up with disagreeable ideas and groups" (Gibson, 2007, p. 410), "an intentional choice not to interfere with conduct which one disapproves" (Burwood & Wyeth, 1998, p. 465). The neoclassical definition of tolerance implies that individuals should positively accept and approve alternative ways of feeling, thinking, and action, even though they are not considered as theirs or ones that have to be adopted (Oberdiek, 2001). Kanisauskas (2010, p. 68) mentioned that tolerance generally means "willingness to accept anything that is not acceptable to a person or social groups (to accept various opinions, attitudes or behaviors, i.e. the otherness, that you may not agree with and what is evaluated negatively)".

Both of these definitions can be also referred to as parameters of inauthentic tolerance, whereas authentic tolerance is understood as "treating people with whom we differ, not with appreciation, acceptance, or endorsement but with civility, dignity and respect even as we recognize that some conflict and tension is inevitable" (von Bergen et al., 2012, p. 114). An authentically tolerant personality is the one who does not necessarily accept other opinions, ideas, beliefs, lifestyle, etc., neither is it obliged to endorse those differences - moreover, it is the one who respects human uniqueness and recognizes everybody's right to stay unlike. However, as Agius and Ambrosewicz (2003) put it, tolerance is not only about recognizing and respecting the beliefs and practices of others, but, foremost, about recognizing and respecting themselves as individuals and members of a particular social, ethnic, and national group.

Empirical studies have examined the nature of tolerance and have suggested that it is a multidimensional construct (Butrus & Witenberg, 2013; Vogt, 1997; Wainryb, Shaw, & Maianu, 1998; Witenberg, 2000). According to Butrus and Witenberg (2013), tolerance comprises tolerant beliefs/attitudes and behavioral practices/actions towards others who are perceived to be different. The present research focuses on the study of tolerance as a set of attitudes to representatives of other national and cultural groups, which leads to positive perception and acceptance of them as different, as well as their unlike lifestyle, traditions, customs, ideas, beliefs, etc.

In terms of such conceptualization, a commonly used measure of tolerance in prior research was a social distance scale about willingness to accept different degrees of social proximity with members of various groups. Previous studies assessed tolerance by asking respondents if they would accept (or how they would feel about having) different groups of people as their work colleagues, neighbors, boss, daughter-or son-inlaw (e. g. Golebiowska, 2009; Hadler, 2012; Lee, 2013). In their research on the relationship between group heterogeneity and tolerance, Roccas and Amit (2011) measured tolerance by asking participants to rate their willingness to have contact with people who deviate from some norm on such domains as intermittent social relation, work or business relations, guests at one's home, intimate friendship, letting children play together, and having them as next-door neighbors. In addition, van der Noll, Poppe and Verkuyten (2010) asked secondary school students to indicate their level of willingness to accept a Muslim teacher and a public speech by a Muslim at school on 5-point Likert scale. Therefore, following the tradition established in the social research, this study is interested in examining tolerance by applying Bogardus social distance scale to measure one's willingness to admit members of various national groups as close kin by marriage, as personal friends, on my street as neighbors, as my group mates, as citizens in my country, as only visitors to my country, would exclude from my country.

Social researchers trying to explain the nature and development of tolerance have approached the issue from different perspectives. In a number of studies, various aspects of personality have been examined as predictors of tolerance towards representatives of unlike cultural background. Few works have been devoted to study the correlations between personal factors and tolerance, e. g. within the framework of the Big Five (John & Srivastava, 1999). Empirical results have shown that the most salient predictors of tolerance to human diversity are such personality traits as agreeableness and dispositional empathy in the belief, speech and act dimensions as well as openness being associated only with the beliefs (Butrus & Witenberg, 2013). Similar conclusions were made by Brown, Cober, Keeping and Levy (2006), who showed that in terms of ethnic diversity within organization racial tolerance is related to such individual differences as agreeableness, openness to experience, and self-esteem.

Recently, researchers have started to analyze the concept of multicultural personality as beneficial in understanding intercultural relations. Multicultural personality is the psychological construct used to better comprehend the personal characteristics allowing one to function effectively within multicultural setting. Ponterotto, Mendelsohn and Belizaire (2003, p. 204) defined multicultural personality as:

[...] a person who embraces diversity in her/his personal life; makes active attempts to learn about other cultures and interact with culturally different people (e.g., friends, colleagues); effectively negotiates and copes within multiple cultural contexts; possesses the ability to live and work effectively among different groups and types of people; understands the biases inherent in his/her own worldview and actively learns about alternate worldviews; and is a social activist, empowered to speak out against all forms of social injustice (e. g., racism, homophobia, sexism, ageism, domestic violence, religious stereotyping).

In their approach to the issue, van der Zee and van Oudenhoven (2000; 2001) conceptualized multicultural personality as comprising five dimensions: 1. cultural empathy, which refers to the ability to empathize with the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of members from different cultural groups; 2. open-mindedness, which is related to an open and unprejudiced attitude towards outgroup members and towards different cultural norms and values; 3. emotional stability, which describes a tendency to remain calm in stressful situations versus a tendency to show strong emotional reactions under stressful circumstances; 4. flexibility, which is associated with people's ability to adjust their behavior to new and unknown satiations, especially in a new cultural environment; 5. social initiative, which is defined as a tendency to approach social situations in an active way and to take initiatives.

Over the last few years, the construct of multicultural personality has been also analyzed in terms of intercultural context. Studies have focused on the role of multicultural personality dispositions in predicting university, crosscultural, and sociopsychological adjustment of international students (Kağ nici, 2012; Leong, 2007; Yakunina, Weigold, I. K., Weigold, A., Hercegovac, & Elsayed, 2012); personal, social, and professional adaptation among expatriate workers (van Oudenhoven, Mol, & van der Zee, 2003); openness to diversity of international students (Yakunina et al., 2012). The research has also shown that multicultural personality dimensions, namely open-mindedness, flexibility, and cultural empathy, are inversely related to ethnic prejudice and authoritarianism (Nesdale, De Vries Robbe, & van Oudenhoven, 2012). Thus, prior research has demonstrated a strong support for predictive significance of multicultural personality in terms of intercultural interaction marked by cultural differences and dissimilarities. At the same time, little attention (if any) has been paid to how the phenomena of multicultural personality and tolerance are interrelated. The present study is an effort to fill this existing gap in the empirical research and to offer the outline for further theoretical understanding of such relation.

In view of everincreasing cultural diversity in the modern world, it seems significant to analyze the ways multicultural personality and tolerance are interrelated. It is important to identify those multicultural personality dimensions that encourage positive attitudes to representatives of unlike national and cultural groups, as well as positive perception and respect of other lifestyle, traditions, customs, ideas, beliefs, etc. Exploring the relationship between multicultural personality and tolerance can help us understand the influence of multicultural personality on its tolerance formation, which will provide a fruitful basis for promoting intercultural dialogue among members of diverse national and cultural communities.


The Present Study

The current research studies this complex issue among university students in the increasingly multicultural environment of Portugal. According to the information presented in European Migration Network (EMN) study (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras, 2007), the country's political stabilization and its entry into the European Economic Community caused enormous waves of immigration. During the mid-1980s, they mostly consisted of people from former Portuguese colonies in Africa, like Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome e Principe, whereas in 1990s they involved citizens from East European countries, such as Ukraine and Moldavia, which was also enlarged by immigrants from Brazil. Due to the official statistics of 2012 (ACIDI official website), diverse national groups make up 4,1% of the current population in Portugal, which corresponds to more than 417,042 foreign residents, representing more than 170 nationalities, namely Brazil (105,622), Ukraine (44,074), Cape Verde (42,857), Romania (35,216) and Angola (20,366). In terms of geographical location, most immigrants live in the urban region of Lisbon (Metropolitan Area of Lisbon) and Algarve (Faro) being the second most popular region of residence (Peixoto & Sabino, 2009).

Portugal has been always concerned with the issue of integrating immigrants into its society. According to "migrant integration policy index" (Mipex), Portugal has made some of the greatest progress overall among various countries (Huddleston, Niessen, Chaoimh, & White, 2011). In the recent years, a number of integration policy initiatives have been successfully implemented facilitating not only a better adaptation of immigrant population into Portuguese community, but also strengthening a positive image of immigration in general (Peixoto & Sabino, 2009). Besides, Portugal has also put into use a number of effective actions concerning mobility in the context of higher education. The introduction of such policies helped streamline ways for international students to enter and stay in the national territory.

Even though no research (to the best of authors' knowledge) has been previously conducted to study the relationship between multicultural personality and tolerance, we assume they could be related considering that they both function as significant contributors to multicultural effectiveness of a personality in a culturally diverse environment. From our perspective, it seems interesting to analyze if multicultural personality dispositions have some impact on tolerance formation: Which multicultural personality dimensions correlate with tolerance towards representatives of various national and cultural groups? To what degree do multicultural personality factors influence tolerance in terms of intercultural interaction?

Thus, the main objectives of this exploratory study are to explore the relationship between multicultural personality and tolerance; to investigate how multicultural personality dispositions affect one's tolerance towards representatives of various national and cultural groups; and to specify those multicultural personality traits that predict tolerance to representatives of unlike national and cultural background. In addition, we try to analyze the tolerance level of Portuguese student youth towards members of different national and cultural groups. We expect that individuals who score high on multicultural personality dimensions will demonstrate higher tolerance towards members of different national and cultural groups. Taking into account the lack of previous research linking multicultural personality to tolerance, it is difficult to present some specific hypotheses concerning their relationship. However, from available studies on multicultural personality (Nesdale et al., 2012; Yakunina et al., 2012) and given the theoretical interpretation of multicultural personality dimensions, it is expected that open-mindedness would have the highest relevance to tolerance towards members of various national and cultural communities.




The sample included 245 participants, students attending university in the southern part of Portugal (139 female and 106 male). The mean age of the respondents was 22.59 years (SD = 5.95, range = 1855). One hundred and seventy (69.4%) young people mentioned that they had secondary education, 71 (29%) got Bachelor's degree and four (1.6%) held Master's degree. Two hundred and nineteen (89.4%) participants identified themselves as single, 22 (9%) as married, and four (1.6%) as divorced. Of this sample, 207 (84.5%) respondents mentioned that they were only students and 38 (15.5%) identified their employment status as studentworkers. Two hundred and nineteen (89.4%) participants were of Portuguese nationality, and 26 (10.6%) were foreign-born.


In order to avoid cueing the respondents, the study was described as the one aimed at analyzing cultural relations rather than tolerance towards representatives of different cultural and national groups. To provide the diversity of the sample, students of various departments were asked to complete the questionnaire. All participants were unpaid volunteers. Although the questionnaire was self-explanatory, the standard instruction was given at the start of the session to inform students that anonymity and confidentiality were assured and the responses would be used solely for research purposes.


The questionnaires used consisted of Bogardus Social Distance Scale, the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire, and some questions related to biographical information. All participants filled out the survey in Portuguese language.

Background data. Participants were asked to provide their sex, age, nationality, marital status, year of study, faculty, professional occupation as well as to answer the questions concerning the countries they have visited.

Bogardus Social Distance Scale. Tolerance towards representatives of various cultural and national groups was measured with the help of Bogardus Social Distance Scale. The scale consisted of seven possible levels of acceptance that the respondents could feel towards a list of suggested nationalities. The participants were asked to answer the following question "According to my first feelings (reactions), I would willingly admit members of each national group into the following classifications (please think of each representative as a whole, and not of the best representative, nor the worst representative of that group you have known)", using such options: 1. as close kin by marriage; 2. as personal friends; 3. on my street as neighbors; 4. as my group mates; 5. as citizens in my country; 6. as only visitors to my country; 7. would exclude from my country. The choice of national groups in our survey was based on the official data about various nationalities studying in the university, and information about immigrant population in Portugal. The scores of social distance scale were reversed, so that higher mean index demonstrated higher willingness to accept various nationalities and indicated higher level of tolerance. In the current study, the Cronbach's alpha was 0.98.

In our research we also used the interpretation of this scale offered by Panina (2005), however we changed it due to the reversed score used in the study. As a result, we distinguished the following levels of tolerance:

1. openness (tolerance) indicates readiness to have contacts with representatives of most national and cultural groups (the reversed mean index of tolerance is higher than 4);

2. keeping a distance refers to people, whose position towards most national and cultural groups can be described as "let them live in my country, but would not like to have direct contacts with them" (the reversed mean index of tolerance is between 4 and 3);

3. isolation concerns those, who do not want to see representatives of most national and cultural groups as citizens of their country, but do not refuse them to come as guests or tourists (the reversed mean index of tolerance is between 3 and 2);

4. xenophobia is related to people who do not want to let members of most national and cultural groups in their country (the reversed mean index of tolerance is lower than 2).

5. The Multicultural Personality Questionnaire. Multicultural personality dispositions were assessed by the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (MPQ; van der Zee & van Oudenhoven, 2000; 2001). The MPQ items are rated on a 5-point Likert scale from 1 = totally not applicable to 5 = completely applicable. Higher scores represent greater level of multicultural effectiveness. The MPQ was adapted to Portuguese context and its internal consistency showed a Cronbach alpha of 0.90 (Sousa, Gonçalves, Santos, & Orgambidez-Ramos, 2014). The present study obtained the following coefficient alphas: cultural empathy = 0.85, open-mindedness = 0.83, social initiative = 0.84, emotional stability = 0.79, flexibility = 0.69. The internal consistency of the given instrument demonstrated a Cronbach alpha of 0.92.



The descriptive statistics of the psychological instruments used is presented in Table 1, demonstrating the means and standard deviations of tolerance and multicultural personality dimensions, namely cultural empathy, open-mindedness, sociability, emotional stability, and flexibility.

As it is shown in Table 1, the mean score of each multicultural personality dimension was significantly higher than the scale midpoint. At the same time, cultural empathy was the multicultural personality factor that demonstrated the highest mean, while emotional stability presented the lowest mean. In addition, the results revealed that tolerance score was not lower than four.

In order to deeper analyze attitudes to members of various national and cultural background, the mean score of tolerance towards representatives of each chosen country was calculated (Table 2).

In Table 2, it is possible to observe the tolerance to members of different countries ranked from high to low in terms of its mean index. Portugal keeps the top position, demonstrating the highest mean, with other 10 top slots filled mostly by Europeans together with Brazilians, Americans, Australians and Canadians. Besides representatives of European national groups, the first top 20 rank also includes Argentineans and Africans, namely Cape Verdeans, Angolans and South Africans. In the middle sector, we can see the appearance of Caribbean (Cuba), Central (Mexico), and South American (Venezuela, Chile, Columbia, Peru) countries. Asian national groups are mainly clustered in the last sector of the ranking, showing low tolerance to representatives of these groups.

With regard to tolerance levels mentioned earlier, 44.58% of the respondents can be characterized as open (tolerant), 39.17% as inclined to isolation and 16.25% as orientated to isolation (including all nations, except Portugal).

Graph 1 illustrates percentage of tolerance levels towards representatives of various geographical and cultural regions of the world based on its mean index.

It is visible that the highest percentage of the participants were open (tolerant) to members of national groups in Western Europe (51.25%) and North America (45.49%), and the lowest percentage demonstrated openness towards Eastern Europeans (25.21%) and Asians (20.17%). Considering the category described as keeping a distance, the data was distributed relatively even among presented geographical regions. In addition, the highest percentage of the respondents demonstrated isolation and xenophobic orientations towards Asia (26.89% and 18.91%, respectively) and Eastern Europe (24.79% and 11.54%, respectively), and the lowest percentage tended to feel isolation and xenophobia to Western Europe (11.25% and 1,25%, respectively).

Table 3 presents the intercorrelations among tolerance and multicultural personality dimensions scores.

As shown in Table 3, all multicultural personality factors were found to be significant positive correlates of tolerance (ranging from .15 to .28). This finding indicates that individuals who scored high on multicultural personality dimensions tended to be more tolerant towards members of unlike national and cultural background.

In order to further analyze the relationship between the variables of interest found in the correlation analysis, a multiple regression analysis was conducted with multicultural personality dimensions entered as covariates and tolerance as a dependent variable. The results showed that the regression equation accounted for 32% of the variance in predicting tolerance score, F(5, 223) = 4.97, p <.001; with open-mindedness as the sole predictor of tolerance (β = .49, p <.05).



The main purpose of the study was to analyze the impact of multicultural personality dimensions on the tolerance of diversity. In general, the sample can be described as open (tolerant) to members of various national and cultural communities.

Detailed analysis of tolerance towards representatives of particular nationalities, with whom the respondents had the possibility to interact in their everyday life, revealed some general trends. The participants demonstrated the highest level of tolerance towards the Portuguese; its average tolerance score also indicated a high level of national identification, since for the dominant majority of the given sample Portuguese was identified as their national ingroup. In addition, respondents showed a high level of tolerance to representatives of Western Europe, North, Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa, as well as citizens of Oceania. At the same time, the mean tolerance index to Asians and Eastern Europeans was lower, indicating isolation and even some xenophobic orientations.

The obtained data, in our opinion, can be explained by several reasons. Firstly, the respondents demonstrated higher tolerance towards representatives of those national and cultural groups (e. g. OECD countries, Brazil, Mexico, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome e Principe, etc.) with whom they interacted more often due to high population mobility between these regions, especially in the sphere of education, and intensive immigration flows among them. In a number of studies, intergroup contact was found to enhance positive attitudes to members of various outgroups (Brewer & Brown, 1998; Liebkind, Mähönen, Solares, Solheim, & Jasinskaja-Lahti, 2014; Pettigrew, 1998a; Pettigrew & Tropp, 2000; Vezzali, Giovannini, & Capozza, 2010). Secondly, close historic and economic ties with some countries, like Spain and former Portuguese colonies, have also positive impact on accepting representatives of these national and cultural groups. At the same time, lower tolerance level to members of some national and cultural groups, in our opinion, can be caused by a lack of knowledge about them, differences in lifestyle, existing stereotypes, or even some economic and societal factors (e. g. Bar-Tal, 1997; Brewer & Pierce, 2005; Crisp & Hewstone, 2006; Crisp & Turner, 2007; Riek, Mania, & Gaertner, 2006; Tropp & Mallet, 2011).

As the findings showed, all multicultural personality dimensions were significant positive correlates of tolerance, yet only open-mindedness was investigated to be its sole predictor. Higher scores of multicultural personality dimensions are associated with higher level of tolerance to representatives of various national and cultural groups.

The fact that open-mindedness was found to positively predict tolerance is consistent with the theoretical interpretation of this multicultural personality disposition (van der Zee & van Oudenhoven, 2000; 2001) and our predictions. open-mindedness refers to an open and unprejudiced attitude towards outgroup members and towards different cultural norms and values, which functions as a basis for tolerance development in international context. This finding is in agreement with the research done by Nesdale et al., (2012) who found that open-mindedness was a negative predictor of ethnic prejudice. Moreover, the results are also consistent with the study conducted by Butrus and Witenberg (2013, p. 296), who mentioned that "being open to new experiences, such as relating to individuals from different racial, ethnic, and cultural background, is incongruent with closed mindedness and holding intolerant beliefs or even endorsing them". In addition, the findings support the conclusions made by Brown et al. (2006) stating that individuals with high levels of racial tolerance, in comparison with those reporting low ones, were characterized by higher scores of agreeableness and openness to experience.

This research also found significant relationship between tolerance and other multicultural personality dispositions. Cultural empathy demonstrated significant correlation with tolerance, however it did not account for its predicting nature in explaining tolerance scores. The general implication from the findings is that the more emphatic the individuals are with the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of members from different cultural background, the more likely they are to be tolerant towards other national and cultural groups. These results are consistent with the studies suggesting that cultural empathy may have stronger and more specific association with cultural openness (Yakunina et al., 2012) and that highly emphatic individuals may be predisposed to tolerance (Butrus & Witenberg, 2013).

With regard to social initiative, the findings show that the tendency to be active in social situations and to take initiatives is related to positive feelings and tolerant attitudes to representatives of other national and cultural groups. At the same time, insignificant regression indicates the lack of predicting nature of this personality trait on studied variable.

Concerning emotional stability, the results suggest that emotionally stable individuals that are more inclined to remain calm in stressful situations also tend to be more tolerant with members of unlike national and cultural groups. In our opinion, it seems logical that emotional stability predisposes managing negative and disruptive emotions (especially those caused by stress), which enhances tolerance development in intercultural context.

The study also found positive relationship between tolerance and flexibility. Even though this multicultural personality dimension was not investigated as its significant predictor, yet positive correlation between these two variables was found. These results allow us to conclude that human ability to adjust to new and unknown situations has a positive impact on positive perception and attitudes to others in the context of intercultural relations. In our opinion, such findings can be explained by the fact that flexibility is found to be closely related to openness to diversity (van der Zee, van Oudenhoven, & Grijs, 2004; van der Zee & van der Gang, 2007; Yakunina et al., 2012), which, in turn, promotes tolerance towards national and cultural communities.

Limitations and Implications of the Study

To our knowledge, the given research aimed at investigating the relationship between multicultural personality dimensions and tolerance is the first one, and that is why should be considered as exploratory in its nature. Our study has some limitations that can guide future researchers to clarify the suggested issues. Since the constructs of multicultural personality and tolerance have been empirically related, followup study with larger and more heterogeneous sample as well as additional instruments has to be carried out. In our opinion, other supplementary questionnaires designed to measure tolerance in the context of international and intercultural relations, e. g. the Cultural Tolerance Scale (Gasser & Tan, 1999), should be applied, which will broaden the focus of the research over its attitudinal component. Large sample national and international research, including not only students, but other categories of people will help deeper analyze the relationship between multicultural personality and tolerance manifestations. Secondly, taking into account the modest variance that was explained by multicultural personality factors assessed with MPQ, additional variables have to be introduced to understand their impact on tolerance development.

The inferences made of the present research have some implications mainly for educational policies. They may provide some ideas on how to promote tolerant attitudes towards representatives of various national and cultural groups by developing multicultural personality dimensions, particularly in the context of educational establishments. The findings of the research may be also used as a basis for implementing a whole range of activities in educational process, like various cultural programs, campaigns, special events, trainings, discussions, etc., directed at promoting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue among representatives of unlike national and cultural communities. Moreover, the results of the given study can enhance introduction of different exchange programs among university students, which can facilitate intercultural interaction and, thus, multicultural attitudes and positive perception of others.

Despite the aforementioned limitations, the present study provides some evidence that developing multicultural effectiveness can serve as a favorable condition that promotes tolerant attitudes towards representatives of various national and cultural communities. Our findings suggest that multicultural personality factors are likely to play an important role in encouraging tolerance in the context of intercultural interaction and that open-mindedness is a powerful positive predictor of this process.



Agius, E., & Ambrosewicz, J. (2003). Towards a culture of tolerance and peace. Montreal: Bureau for Children's rights. Retrieved December 5, 2015, from:         [ Links ]

Bar-Tal, D. (1997). Formation and change of ethnic and national stereotypes: An integrative model. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 21(4),491-523. DOI: 10.1016/S01471767(97)000229.         [ Links ]

Brewer, M. B., & Brown, R. J. (1998). Intergroup relations. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske & G. Lindzey (Eds.). The Handbook of Social Psychology (4th ed., Vol. 2, pp. 554-594). New York: McGrawHill.         [ Links ]

Brewer, M. B., & Pierce, K. P. (2005). Social identity complexity and outgroup tolerance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(3),428-437. DOI: 10.1177/0146167204271710.         [ Links ]

Brown, D. J., Cober, R. T., Keeping, L. M., & Levy, P. E. (2006). Racial tolerance and reactions to diversity information in job advertisements. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36(8),2048-2071. DOI: 10.1111/j.00219029.2006.00093.x.         [ Links ]

Burwood, L., & Wyeth, R. (1998). Should schools promote toleration? Journal of Moral Education, 27(4),465-473. DOI: 10.1080/0305724980270402.         [ Links ]

Butrus, N., & Witenberg, R. T. (2013). Some personality predictors of tolerance to human diversity: The roles of openness, agreeableness and empathy. Australian Psychologist, 48(4),290-298. DOI: 10.1111/j.17429544.2012.00081.x.         [ Links ]

Crisp, R. J., & Hewstone, M. (Ed.) (2006). Multiple social categorization: Processes, models and applications. Hove: Psychology Press. DOI: 10.4324/9780203969229.         [ Links ]

Crisp, R. J., & Turner, R. N. (2007). Essential social psychology. London: Sage.         [ Links ]

Gasser, M. B., & Tan, R. N. (1999). Cultural tolerance: Measurement and latent structure of attitudes toward the cultural practices of others. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 59(1),111-126. DOI: 10.1177/0013164499591008.         [ Links ]

Gibson, J. L. (2007). Political intolerance in the context of democratic theory. In R. E. Goodin (Eds.). The Oxford handbook of political science (pp. 323-341). Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199270125.003.0017.         [ Links ]

Golebiowska, E. (2009). Ethnic and religious tolerance in Poland. East European Politics and Societies, 23(3),371-391. DOI: 10.1177/0888325409333191.         [ Links ]

Hadler, M. (2012). The influence of world societal forces on social tolerance: A time comparative study of prejudices in 32 countries. The Sociological Quarterly, 53(2),211-237. DOI: 10.1111/j.15338525.2012.01232.x.         [ Links ]

Huddleston, T., Niessen, J., Chaoimh, E. N., & White, E. (2011). Migrant Integration Policy Index. Brussels: British Council and Migration Policy Group.         [ Links ]

John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big-Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical Perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.). Handbook of personality: theory and research, 2nd ed., 102-138). New York: Guilford Press.         [ Links ]

Kağ nici, D. Y. (2012). Role of multicultural personality in predicting university adjustment of international students in Turkey. International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling, 34(2),174-184. DOI: 10.1007/s1044701291495.         [ Links ]

Kanisauskas, S. (2010). Tolerance boundaries and cultural egalitarianism. Limes, 3(1),67-79. DOI: 10.3846/limes.2010.07.         [ Links ]

Lee, F. L. F. (2014). "Tolerated one way but not the other": Levels and determinants of social and political tolerance in Hong Kong. Social Indicators Research, 118(2),711-727. DOI: 10.1007/s1120501304335.         [ Links ]

Leong, C. H. (2007). Predictive validity of the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire: A longitudinal study on the sociopsychological adaptation of Asian undergraduates who took part in a study-abroad program. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 31(5),545-559. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2007.01.004.         [ Links ]

Liebkind, K., Mähönen, T. A., Solares, E., Solheim, E., & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2014). Prejudice-reduction in culturally mixed classrooms: The development and assessment of a theory-driven intervention among majority and minority youth in Finland. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 24(4),325-339. DOI: 10.1002/casp.2168.         [ Links ]

Nesdale, D., De Vries Robbe, M., & van Oudenhoven, J. P. (2012). Intercultural effectiveness, authoritarianism, and ethnic prejudice. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(5),1173-1191. DOI: 10.1111/j.15591816.2011.00882.x.         [ Links ]

Oberdiek, H. (2001). Tolerance: between forbearance and acceptance. Lanham, MA: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.         [ Links ]

Panina, N. (2005). On application of the social distance scale in studies on national tolerance in Ukraine. In Y. Golovakha (Eds.). Ukrainian Sociological Review 2002-2003 (pp. 129-150). Kiev: Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.         [ Links ]

Peixoto, J., & Sabino, C. (2009). Immigration, the labor market and policy in Portugal: Trends and prospects. IDEA Working Papers 6, April 2009.         [ Links ]

Pettigrew, T. F. (1998a). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49,65-85. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.65.         [ Links ]

Pettigrew, T. F. (1998b). Reactions toward the new minorities of Western Europe. Annual Review of Sociology, 24,77-103. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.24.1.77.         [ Links ]

Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2000). Does intergroup contact reduce prejudice? Recent meta-analytic findings. In S. Oskamp (Eds.). Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination (pp. 93-114). Hillsdale: Erlbaum. DOI: 10.4324/9781410605634.         [ Links ]

Ponterotto, J., Mendelsohn, J., & Belizaire, L. (2003). Assessing teacher multicultural competence: Self-report instruments, observer report evaluations, and a portfolio assessment. In D. B. Pope-Davis, H. L. K. Coleman, W. M. Liu & R. L. Toporek (Eds.). Handbook of Multicultural Competencies in Counseling and Psychology (pp. 191-210). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. DOI: 10.4135/9781452231693.n13.         [ Links ]

Putnam, R. D. (2007). E pluribus unum: Diversity and community in the twenty-first century: The 2006 Johan Skytte prize lecture. Scandinavian Political Studies, 30(2),137-174. DOI: 10.1111/j.14679477.2007.00176.x.         [ Links ]

Riek, B. M., Mania, E. W., & Gaertner, S. L. (2006). Intergroup threat and outgroup attitudes: A meta-analytic review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10(4),336-353. DOI: 10.1207/s15327957pspr1004_4.         [ Links ]

Robinson, J., Witenberg, R. T., & Sanson, A. (2001). The socialization of tolerance. In M. Augoustinos & K. J. Reynolds (Eds.). Understanding prejudice, racism, and social conflict (pp. 73-88). Guildford, Surrey: Biddles. DOI: 10.4135/9781446218877.n5.         [ Links ]

Roccas, S., & Amit, A. (2011). Group heterogeneity and tolerance: The moderating role of conservation values. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(5),898-907. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2011.03.011.         [ Links ]

Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) (2007). European Migration Network. Annual Policy Report. 2007. Portugal. Retrieved December 5, 2015, from         [ Links ]

Shirmer, W., Weidenstedt, L., & Reich, W. (2012). From tolerance to respect in interethnic contexts. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(7),1049-1065. DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2012.681448.         [ Links ]

Sousa, C., Gonçalves, G., Santos, J., & Orgambidez-Ramos, A. (2014). The effect of cultural experience on the multicultural profile [Manuscript in preparation]         [ Links ].

Tropp, L. R., & Mallet, R. K. (Ed.) (2011). Moving beyond prejudice reduction: pathways to positive intergroup relations. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. DOI: 10.1037/a0025203.         [ Links ]

van der Noll, J., Poppe, E., & Verkuyten, M. (2010). Political tolerance and prejudice: Differential reactions towards Muslims in the Netherlands. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 32(1),45-56. DOI: 10.1080/01973530903540067.         [ Links ]

van der Zee, K. I., & van der Gang, I. (2007). Personality, threat, and affective responses to cultural diversity. European Journal of Personality, 21(4),453-470. DOI: 10.1002/per.619.         [ Links ]

van der Zee, K. I., & van Oudenhoven, J. P. (2000). The multicultural personality questionnaire: A multidimensional instrument of multicultural effectiveness. European Journal of Personality, 14(4),291-309. DOI: 10.1002/10990984(200007/08)14:4<291:: AIDPER377>3.0.CO;26.         [ Links ]

van der Zee, K. I., & van Oudenhoven, J. P. (2001). The multicultural personality questionnaire: Reliability and validity of self and other ratings of multicultural effectiveness. Journal of Research in Personality, 35(3),278-288. DOI: 10.1006/jrpe.2001.2320.         [ Links ]

van der Zee, K. I., van Oudenhoven, J. P., & Grijs, E. (2004). Personality, threat, and cognitive and emotional reactions to intercultural situations. Journal of Personality, 72(5),1069-1096. DOI: 10.1111/j.00223506.2004.00290.x.         [ Links ]

van Oudenhoven, J. P., Mol, S., & van der Zee, K. I. (2003). Study of the adjustment of western expatriates in Taiwan ROC with the multicultural personality questionnaire. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 6(2),159-170. DOI: 10.1111/1467-839X.t01-1-00018.         [ Links ]

Vezzali, L., Giovannini, D., & Capozza, D. (2010). Longitudinal effects of contact on intergroup relations: The role of majority and minority group membership and intergroup emotions. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 20(6),462-479. DOI: 10.1002/casp.1058.         [ Links ]

Vogt, W. P. (1997). Tolerance and education: Learning to live with diversity and difference. Thousand Oaks: Sage.         [ Links ]

von Bergen, C. W., von Bergen, B. A., Stubblefield, C., & Bandow, D. (2012). Authentic tolerance: Between forbearance and acceptance. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 19(4),111-131.         [ Links ]

Wainryb, C., Shaw, L. A., & Maianu, C. (1998). Tolerance and intolerance: Children's and adolescents' judgments of dissenting beliefs, speech, persons, and conduct. Child Development, 69(6),1541-1555. DOI: 10.1111/j.14678624.1998.tb06176.x.         [ Links ]

Witenberg, R. (2000). Do unto others: Toward understanding racial tolerance and acceptance. Journal of College and Character, 1(5),1-8. DOI: 10.2202/19401639.1283.         [ Links ]

Yakunina, E. S., Weigold, I. K., Weigold, A., Hercegovac, S., & Elsayed, N. (2012). The multicultural personality: does it predict international students' openness to diversity and adjustment? International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36(4),533-540. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.12.008.         [ Links ]



Endereço para correspondência:
Liliia Korol
National University of Ostroh Academy, Department of Intercultural Communication
Rivne Region, Ostroh, Ukraine. 35800

Submissão: 20.11.2015
Aceitação: 15.3.2016



1 Este trabalho foi financiado pela Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) por meio do projeto UID/SOC/04020/2013.

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License