Irish people's level of support for immigrants is among the lowest in Europe.
The ESRI have found 58% support white immigrants - but that drops to 41% for Muslims and 25% for Roma migrants.
Those figures are lower than the average of 10 other European countries.
The study found Irish-born people's education, financial security and level of contact with other ethnic groups played a part.
The ESRI's Helen Russell says the recession also had an impact on attitudes.
She said: "We found that during the boom time attitudes towards immigration were becoming more favourable and then with the recession they dropped down.
"When you compare it to other countries across Western Europe we actually then fell below the average so attitudes here were more negative."