The Relationship Between Social Capital and Acculturation Expectations of Estonians in Estonia: Perceived Threat as a Mediator



This study examines the mediating role of perceived threat from other ethnic groups in the relationship between social capital and acculturation expectations of the host population. Consistent with Stephans’ theory, the article examined the impact of three types of perceived threat: economic, cultural, and physical. The sample consists of ethnic Estonians born and living in Estonia (N = 309). The study examined how the perceived threat affects the relationship between social capital indicators (general trust, ethnic tolerance, binding and uniting social capital) and acculturation expectations (“multiculturalism”, “melting pot”, “seg regation”). The results showed that physical perceived threat was a mediator of the relationship between ethnic tolerance and “multiculturalism”. With the increase in physical threat, the preference for “multiculturalism” decreased. Economic threat has been shown to mediate the relationship between general trust and “segregation”, as well as connecting social capital and “segregation”. In these two cases, the economic threat increased the likelihood of a preference for “segregation” by the host population. The mediative role of cultural threat was not confirmed in the present study.

General Information

Keywords: perceived threat, acculturation expectations, bonding social capital, bridging social capital, trust, ethnic tolerance, Estonia

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Science Foundation (RSF), project number 20-18-00268.

For citation: Rodionov G.Y. The Relationship Between Social Capital and Acculturation Expectations of Estonians in Estonia: Perceived Threat as a Mediator. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2021. Vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 74–82. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2021170408.


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Information About the Authors

Germogen Y. Rodionov, PhD Student, Centre for Sociocultural Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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