Date of Award

12-2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

William F. Stone

Second Committee Member

Michael Robbins

Third Committee Member

Paul Schaffner

Abstract

This dissertation examines horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism as testable dimensions of cultural variation. Collectivism emphasizes the primacy of norms, duties, and obligations, whereas individualism favors maximum enjoyment for the individual, interpersonal contracts, and freedom fiom the collectivity. While the horizontal dimension stresses equality, the vertical dimension calls attention to hierarchy. While past research (Triandis, 1995, Triandis & Gelfand, 1998) has demonstrated the convergent and divergent validity of horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism, it is contended that the Triandis (1 995) measures of horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism could provide predictive value by discriminating between attitudinal responses of adult members of the Democratic and Republican parties in Maine and Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties in New Brunswick. In addition to assessing horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism within the context of national and political party comparative analyses, also examined were their association with sociopolitical variables. Participants answered a mailed questionnaire measuring types of individualism and collectivism and scores on selected sociopolitical variables. Respondents also provided socio-demographic information. Overall, the Triandis (1 995) questionnaire adequately measures the constructs of horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism. Also revealed was that Canadian citizens were more collectivist than their American counterparts. However, the two national groups did not differ on either vertical or horizontal individualism. Horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism proved usehl in discriminating between political parties. While all political groups were comparable in regards to their valuation of horizontal or egalitarian statements, in most cases, right-ofcenter parties proved more favorable than left-of-center parties toward items measuring vertical aspects of individualism and collectivism. Clearer portraits of party differences were revealed when examining scores on the following sociopolitical variables: rightwing authoritarianism, defined as the covariation of submission to authorities, aggression, and conventionalism; social dominance orientation, a general attitudinal orientation toward intergroup relations, reflecting whether one generally prefers such relations to be equal, versus hierarchical; and equality. While Canadian political parties were similar, Democrats and Republicans were dissimilar. While Democrats stood out because of their low scores on right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation, the Republicans were unique in their low valuation of equality.

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