The influence of culture on the construal of the self amongst White, Black and Indian students.
The influence of culture on the construal of the normal and abnormal self was compared for three race groups of students, namely, White, Black and Indian students. Furthermore, the effect of gender on the construal of the self for the three race groups were investigated. The subjects for the study were 102 first-year psychology students (mean age: 18.5). The test consisted of two sets of 10 psychological words. Each student completed one test by providing two synonyms for every stimulus word given. Using the Semantic Differential, the synonyms were rated by nine independent judges, against ten polar dimensions, relating to the concept of the self. Frequency scores were obtained for the number of times that a synonym was used by the subjects and cross-tabulation of these scores with race and gender were performed. Logit analysis, using 7 different models of interaction between synonym, race and gender were also performed. Using the Western vs. Non-western and the Individualism vs. Collectivism models of the self, results indicate that the White subjects fitted the Western and Individualistic models of the self. The Black and Indian subjects construed the self as being both individualistic and collectivistic and the self was seen as totally self-orientated. With the abnormal self, the Black and Indian students emphasised both the somatic and psychological complaints, while the White subjects emphasised only the psychological aspects. Regarding gender, the males in the study used mental words while the females used word depicting behaviour. Summarising, the results indicate that the White, Black and Indian subjects construe the self in a similar manner, indicating that the Black and Indian subjects are in the process of change or acculturation.
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