Self-enhancement: Is it restricted to individualistic cultures?

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Two studies investigated how self-enhancement relates to interdependent and independent self-construals typical of collectivist and individualist cultures, respectively. Participants from three cultures were surveyed, two of them collectivist (Singaporean Chinese and Israeli Druze) and one individualist (Israeli Jews). Study 1 shows that the two collectivist cultures differ in their self-enhancement level among university students: Self-enhancement level among Singaporeans was weaker for academic self-enhancement and for other agentic traits. No cultural difference in self-enhancement of communal traits was found (N = 418). Study 2 replicated these results for high school students and evaluated the relations between self-construals, modesty, and self-enhancement. Regression analyses show that self-enhancement of agentic traits is predicted by independent self-construal and modesty (negatively), whereas self-enhancement of communal traits is predicted by interdependent self-construal (N = 362). The role of modesty norms in self-enhancement is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1705-1716
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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