Explaining Individuating Behavior Across Cultures: The Contributions of Values and Social Axioms

Part of the International and Cultural Psychology book series (ICUP)

Two studies examined individuation, a behavioral style that reflects the need to present the self as unique and independent and the willingness to differentiate oneself from others publicly. Study 1 consisted of two samples: Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong Chinese. A set of personal and cultural variables, including modernity and traditionality, self-esteem, self-efficacy, independent and interdependent self-construals, were tested for their relations with individuating behavior. Self-esteem, self-efficacy, and traditionality (negative) significantly predicted individuation across these two Chinese contexts. Study 2 consisted of three samples: Mainland Chinese, Hong Kong Chinese, and Canadians. Values and social axioms were added to the explanatory framework. Above and beyond the significant effects for self-efficacy and independence, the value factor of Conservation and the axiom dimension of Social Cynicism negatively predicted individuating behavior across both Chinese and Western cultural groups. Gender differences in individuation were found, with Canadian males scoring higher than their female counterparts. Cultural differences were more complex: Mainland Chinese reported more individuation than Hong Kong Chinese and Canadians. By comparing the behavioral self-reports between individualistic and collectivist cultures, the present research illuminated the role of culture in shaping individuals ' relational styles and demonstrated the contributions of values and social axioms in explaining social behavior.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Social SciencesThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonChina

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