Two dimensions of psychological country-level differences: conservatism/liberalism and harshness/softness

Stankov, Lazar, Lee, Jihyun and van de Vijver, Fons J. R. (2014) Two dimensions of psychological country-level differences: conservatism/liberalism and harshness/softness. Learning and Individual Differences, 30 22-33. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2013.12.001

Author Stankov, Lazar
Lee, Jihyun
van de Vijver, Fons J. R.
Title Two dimensions of psychological country-level differences: conservatism/liberalism and harshness/softness
Journal name Learning and Individual Differences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1041-6080
Publication date 2014
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.lindif.2013.12.001
Open Access Status
Volume 30
Start page 22
End page 33
Total pages 12
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract We examined dimensions of noncognitive functioning based on the administration of 22 measures of personality, social attitudes, values, and social norms in 35 countries (Ns ranging from 9 to 430; Total N= 1895). Four essentially identical factors were found at individual and country level: Personality/Social Attitudes; Values; Social Norms, and Conservatism. The four factors were correlated at country level, yielding a second-order Conservatism/Liberalism (combining Conservatism and Values) and a Harshness/Softness factor (combining Personality/Social Attitudes and Norms). Broad Conservatism/Liberalism is akin to Inglehart's (1997) contrast between survival and well-being; it was negatively correlated with countries' affluence, educational achievement indicators, and measures of mass communication and freedom. The Harshness/Softness factor contrasts countries that are tough and harsh/unforgiving and countries that are warm and tolerant; it is related to Gelfand et al.'s (2011) tightness/looseness dimension. Harshness/Softness factor was (negatively) correlated with death penalty, murder rate and muggings, and the proportion of Christians; it was positively correlated with Minkov's (2011) index of Industry and his index of countries' death penalty application. It is concluded that the domain of noncognitive psychological functioning has a fairly corresponding structure at individual and country levels.
Keyword Cross-cultural differences
Multilevel analysis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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