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Ethnicity and Contemporary U.S. Culture: A Meta-Analytic Investigation of Horizontal–Vertical Individualism–Collectivism. Jose H. Vargas, M.A. & Markus Kemmelmeier, Ph.D. University of Nevada, Reno April 24, 2009. Current Trends, Cultural Implications and Research Goals. Current Trends :

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Ethnicity and Contemporary U.S. Culture: A Meta-Analytic Investigation of Horizontal–Vertical Individualism–Collectivism

Jose H. Vargas, M.A. & Markus Kemmelmeier, Ph.D.

University of Nevada, Reno

April 24, 2009

current trends cultural implications and research goals
Current Trends, Cultural Implications and Research Goals
  • Current Trends:
    • Increasing cultural diversity
    • U.S. Census  EurAm still majority population???
      • In 2000 Census, Latinos surpassed AfrAm as largest minority group (12.5% vs. 12.3%, respectively)
      • Between 1990-2000, Latino pop increased 52.9%
      • In 2003, 35% of immigrants to U.S. came from Asian countries
current trends cultural implications and research goals1
Current Trends, Cultural Implications and Research Goals
  • Cultural Implications:
    • Traditionally, U.S. viewed as epitome of “individualism” (IND)
    • Given Census trends/cultural patterns  potential gradual dissolution of IND???
individualism collectivism
  • Triandis’ Conceptualization (1990s):
    • IND: emotional independence from collectivities
    • COL: emotional interdependence on collectivities
    • Accounts for power distance
individualism collectivism con t
Individualism-Collectivism (con’t)
  • Hor-Ver INDCOL—Four Subscales:
    • Horizontal Individualism (HI):
      • Autonomy and uniqueness
      • e.g., “My personal identity is very important to me”
    • Horizontal Collectivism (HC):
      • Social harmony and social equality
      • e.g., “My happiness depends very much on the happiness of those around me”
    • Vertical Individualism (VI):
      • Personal achievement and competition
      • e.g., “Competition is the law of nature”
    • Vertical Collectivism (VC):
      • Social hierarchies and subordination of personal needs to ingroup
      • e.g., “I usually sacrifice my self-interest for the benefit of my group”
reported differences in indcol among u s ethnic groups con t
Reported Differences in INDCOL among U.S. Ethnic Groups (con’t)


  • Coon & Kemmelmeier’s Study (2001):
    • Interesting Results:
      • AfrAms/AsiAms score higher on COL than EurAms
      • AfrAms displayed highest IND scores
    • Conclusions:
      • Not all ‘U.S. minorities’ display same form/degree of IND and COL
      • Ethnic diff in INDCOL may be linked to ethnic groups’ unique histories
reported differences in indcol among u s ethnic groups con t1
Reported Differences in INDCOL among U.S. Ethnic Groups (con’t)
  • Oyserman et al.’s Study (2002):
    • Most comprehensive meta-analysis on INDCOL to date
    • Findings from Within-U.S. Comparisons:
      • AfrAms were highest on IND (not EurAms)
      • EurAms and LatAms did not differ on IND
      • Only comparisons between EurAms and AsiAms display expected pattern (i.e., EurAms were higher on IND and lower on COL vis-à-vis AsiAms)
    • Implication of Study: may be premature to assume “all U.S. minorities” are collectivists
u s ethnic groups different histories different cultural orientations
U.S. Ethnic Groups: Different Histories, Different Cultural Orientations
  • European American Sociohistory:
    • Traditional “carriers” of IND
  • African American Sociohistory:
    • Majority of current AfrAms are descendants of slaves
  • Asian American Sociohistory:
    • AsiAms emphasis on family (e.g., filial piety)
    • High degree of “assimilation”
  • Latino American Sociohistory:
    • LatAms descend from immigrants/native cultures
    • Strong familial leanings, religious influence & “work ethic”
research question and goals
Research Question and Goals
  • Central Research Question:
    • Are increases in cult. diversity promoting divergence or convergence of cult. orientations among ethnic/racial Americans?
  • Research Goals:
    • To address concerns about IND and COL among ethnic/racial Americans
    • Meta-analysis of Horizontal-Vertical IND-COL (HVIC)
meta analysis
  • Inclusion Criteria:
    • Study uses INDCOL scale (Triandis & co.)
    • Study includes U.S. participants from at least 2 of the 4 ‘ethnic/racial groups’
    • Study provides RELEVANT data on at least 1 of the 4 HVIC
    • Current Sample Size = 22 independent samples
meta analysis con t
Meta-Analysis (con’t)
  • Statistical Data:
    • Aggregated scale reliabilities (i.e., Cronbach’s α)
    • Aggregated mean differences (i.e., Cohen’s d)
    • Aggregated intercorrelations (i.e., Pearson’s r)
results aggregated subscale reliabilities
Results—Aggregated Subscale Reliabilities

*Most mean weighted effect sizes (MWESs) exceeded alpha = .70

*Except for EurAm, non-sig Qwi stats suggest ‘homogeneity’ of MWESs

*For all 4 groups, HC and VI scales function similarly

results aggregated mean differences
Results—Aggregated Mean Differences

*Six “paired comparison types”

*Only two stat sig. effects (in bold)

results aggregated intercorrelations
Results—Aggregated Intercorrelations

*All but 4 ‘corr coefficients’ were stat sig. in positive direction

*One ‘corr coefficient’ was stat sig. in negative direction

*Data suggest that the 4 HVIC subscales are less ‘orthogonal’ than previously argued

discussion conclusions
  • Reliabilities and Means suggest ethnic/racial similarity (e.g., HC & VI scales)
  • Some mean diff indicate few areas of cultural diff
  • Correlations suggest pervasive group diff in “scale links”
  • EurAms and AsiAms did not differ on either subscales, inconsistent w/ past research
  • Future research on INDCOL should link it to H-V and sociohistory

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