Canadian Citizens’ Helping Intentions toward Syrian Refugees


  • Mahnoor Khan University of Calgary
  • Leah Hamilton Mount Royal University




Since 2011, over 5 million refugees have fled civil war in Syria (UNHCR, 2018). Canada has responded to
the Syrian refugee crisis by resettling over 50,000 Syrian refugees and encouraging its citizens to support
the integration process. Previous research has shown that when in-group members take the perspective
of an out-group it leads to increased helping intentions toward that out-group (Mashuri, Hasanah,
Rahmawati, 2013). To replicate and extend these findings in a Canadian context, the current study sought
to answer the question: How does national identity impact the relationship between perspective taking and
helping intentions toward Syrian refugees? The results indicated that when undergraduate participants
engaged in perspective taking, it led to increased financial helping intentions toward Syrian refugees,
and this relationship was mediated by empathy. It was also found that individuals with a greater ethnic
national identity had lower levels of political and financial helping intentions toward Syrian refugees.

 Keywords: Syrian Refugees, Immigrants, Newcomers, Canada, National Identity, Ethnic National Identity, Perspective Taking, Empathy, Helping Intentions

Author Biographies

Mahnoor Khan, University of Calgary

Bachelors of Arts (First Class Honours) in Psychology, University of Calgary

Leah Hamilton, Mount Royal University

Associate Professor; Bissett School of Business Mount Royal University






Social Sciences & Humanities