: Introduction: The intensification of the migration phenomenon led to a growing interest in the public domain about the attitudes towards foreigners. Xenophobia and xenophilia are two opposite orientations towards foreigners, that could be considered the consequences of the interaction between several factors. Based on the self-determination theory, this study aims to verify that a bright pathway composed by intrinsic goal, needs satisfaction and altruism could explain xenophilia, whereas a dark pathway composed by extrinsic goal, needs frustration, and egoism could explain xenophobia in a group of Italian emerging adult. Methods: A group of 306 Italian emerging adults (aged 18-24), completed questionnaires and structural equation modelling was used to test the hypothesized model. Results: The results showed a relation between intrinsic goals and needs satisfaction, conversely needs satisfaction was related to altruism, moreover altruism was related to xenophilia. On the other hand, extrinsic goals were related to need frustration; moreover, need frustration was related to egoism and egoism was related to xenophobia. Discussion: These results were discussed within the Italian context for a better general comprehension of both xenophobia and xenophilia in a SDT framework.
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