Fear of foreigners or strangers is a mental health issue called “xenophobia.” The leading causes of xenophobia are divided into those based on internal factors and external factors. Internal factors may be improper nurture, which manifests itself in arrogant behavior and features of the native culture, such as voluntary isolation. External factors include the unsuccessful experience of direct and indirect contacts with foreigners.


The word “xenophobia” means fear of foreigners and takes its roots from the ancient Greek language. Many ancient societies considered foreigners or strangers to be barbarians, and this cultural relic has remained in modern global culture. Most often, xenophobia is instilled in the upbringing of the younger generation.

This is especially characteristic of remote areas due to the lack of foreigners and contacts with them. Also, xenophobia can be caused by religious beliefs and a language barrier. Often people associate the concepts of xenophobia and racism, and even if the latter can also be one of the reasons, nevertheless, it is worth separating these two phenomena. Fear and distrust of foreigners or strangers can manifest themselves to members of the same race, country, and standard cultural paradigm.

Direct contacts of an external group of factors are the personal negative experience of interacting with foreigners. It may be verbal or physical conflict, abuse, or violence.  Indirect contacts are generally considered external pressure from one country to another. Past or current hostilities with other countries drive social behavior patterns towards hatred or fear of foreigners.

Also, prerequisites for xenophobia may be the economic, political, territorial, and racial restrictions of the dominant country. Globalization policies themselves can trigger anti-globalist and xenophobic sentiments in specific communities.