Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Peterson, Lindsey

Committee Member

Brown, Dustin C

Committee Member

Ralston, Margaret L

Committee Member

Johnson, Kecia R

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Complete embargo for 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


Diversity is an inevitable condition of modern societies, in which individuals come into contact with one another with various backgrounds; such as, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, and ideology. My dissertation answers three questions: what are the individual characteristics that influence social tolerance of people?’ What are the important things (education level, economic condition, gender, religiosity, etc.) that hold people in a society together as well as influence them positively or negatively to report social tolerance toward religiously different, racially different, sexually different (homosexuals), and nationally (immigrants) different people? From there, I am also trying to answer, if any, the impact of social intolerance on people’s overall well-being? And finally, I am attempting to explore the impact of the socio-historical developments in three societies (United States, Turkey, and South Africa) on social intolerance attitudes (racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and religious intolerance) of people? Previous studies on tolerance have used samples from either one country or a few countries from a continent. As a result, it remained unclear why some characteristics were significantly associated with social tolerance. Using the World Values Survey, I analyze the association between reporting social tolerance within individual and country level contexts. Additionally, using a historical comparative analysis approach, I explore societal factors that influence people to report social tolerance toward racially different, immigrants/foreign workers, homosexuals, and religiously different people in the United States, Turkey, and South Africa. In my multi-level logistic regression analyses, I find that as educational attainment of individuals’ increases, they are more likely to be socially tolerant toward racially different, immigrant/foreign workers, homosexuals, and those who practice a different religion. Schooling plays the most important role on whether individuals will be socially tolerant or intolerant. At the country level, I find that those who live in highly corrupted countries tend to report lower levels of social tolerance for all dimensions. My findings show that there is a connection between social tolerance, as a type of negative emotion, and individuals health outcomes. Also, my findings show that as social intolerance increases the likelihood of reporting good and very good health and mental well-being decreases.