Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 1145–1161 | Cite as

Self-Construal and Psychological Wellbeing in Scottish and Italian Young Adults

Research Paper

Abstract

The present study investigated the role of self-construal in explaining psychological wellbeing in two European countries. Eight hundred and fifteen Italian and Scottish students completed measures of life-satisfaction, optimism, subjective happiness and a scale measuring interdependent and/or independent self-construal. We obtained three main findings. First of all, scores on the scales of psychological wellbeing were positively associated with scores on the independent scale and independence was found to be the factor that best explained variance in psychological wellbeing. Second, and contrary to our prediction, the Italian group had significantly higher scores for the independence scale than Scots. Third, gender was found to have a significant effect with regard to interdependence of self, life satisfaction, and optimism.

Keywords

Psychological wellbeing Happiness Self-construal Culture 

References

  1. Ahuvia, A. C. (2001). Individualism/collectivism and cultures of happiness: A theoretical conjecture on the relationship between consumption, culture and wellbeing at the national level. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, 23–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrews, F. M., & Withey, S. B. (1976). Social indicators of wellbeing: Americans’ perceptions of life quality. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  3. Anolli, L. (2005). L’ottimismo. Il Mulino: Bologna [The optimism].Google Scholar
  4. Brody, L. R., & Hall, J. A. (2008). Gender and emotion in context. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones, & L. F. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  5. Camfield, L., Crivello, G., & Woodhead, M. (2009). Wellbeing research in developing countries: Reviewing the role of qualitative methods. Social Indicators Research, 90(1), 5–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chang, W. C., Osman, M. M. B., Tong, E. M. W., & Tan, D. (2011). Self-construal and wellbeing in two ethnic communities in Singapore. Psychology, 2, 63–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chapin, J. (2001). Self-protective pessimism: Optimistic bias in reverse. North American Journal of Psychology, 3, 253–262.Google Scholar
  8. Craig, C. (2007). Creating confidence: A handbook for professionals working with young people. Glasgow: Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing and Hay-Nisbett.Google Scholar
  9. Cross, S. E., Bacon, P. L., & Morris, M. L. (2000). The relational-interdependent self-construal and relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(4), 791–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cross, S. E., Gore, J. S., & Morris, M. L. (2003). The relational-interdependent self-construal, self-concept consistency, and wellbeing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(5), 933–944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cross, S. E., Hardin, E., & Gercek-Swing, B. (2011). The what, how, why and where of self-construal. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 15(2), 142–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cross, S. E., & Madson, L. (1997). Models of the self: Self-construals and gender. Psychological Bulletin, 122(1), 5–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cross, S. E., Morris, M. L., & Gore, J. S. (2002). Thinking about oneself and others: The relational interdependent self-construal and social cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 399–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Daukantaite, D., & Bergman, L. R. (2005). Childhood roots of women’s wellbeing: The role of optimism. European Journal of Psychology, 10, 287–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Delle Fave, A., & Bassi, M. (2000). The quality of experience in adolescent’s daily lives: Developmental perspectives. Genetic, Social and General Psychological Monographs, 126, 347–367.Google Scholar
  16. Diener, E. (2000). Well-being. The science of happiness and proposal for a National Index. American Psychologist, 55, 34–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diener, E., & Chan, M. Y. (2011). Happy people live longer: Wellbeing contributes to health and longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being, 3, 1–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Diener, E., & Diener, M. (1995). Cross-cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 653–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Lucas, R. E. (2003). Personality, culture, and wellbeing: Emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 403–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Duncan, E., & Grazzani Gavazzi, I. (2004). Positive emotional experiences in Scottish and Italian young adults: A diary study. Journal of Happiness Studies, 5, 359–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Duncan, E., Grazzani, I., & Subba, U. (2009). Reflections on positive psychology. In L. Bortolotti (Ed.), Philosophy and happiness (pp. 119–129). London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Eid, M., & Larsen, R. J. (2008). The science of wellbeing. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  24. Elliott, I., & Coker, S. (2008). Independent self-construal, self-reflection, and self-rumination: A path model for predicting happiness. Australian Journal of Psychology, 60(3), 127–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fiske, A. P. (2002). Using individualism and collectivism to compare cultures—a critique of the validity and measurement of the construct. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 78–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Galloway, S. (2006). Quality of life and well-being: Measuring the benefits of culture and sports: Literature review and thinkpiece. Centre for Cultural Policy Research, University of Glasgow. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2006/01/13110743/0.
  27. Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hird, S. (2003). Individual wellbeing: A report for the Scottish executive and Scottish neighbourhood statistics. August 2003. NHS Health, Scotland.Google Scholar
  29. Hyun, K. J. (2000). Is an independent self a requisite for Asian immigrants’ psychological wellbeing in the US? The case of Korean Americans. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 3(3–4), 179–200.Google Scholar
  30. Isaacowitz, D. (2005). Correlates of wellbeing in adulthood and old age: A tale of two optimists. Journal of Personality, 39(2), 224–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kahn, R. L., & Juster, F. T. (2002). Wellbeing: Concepts and measures. Journal of Social Issues, 58, 627–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kahneman, D., Diener, E., & Schwarz, N. (Eds.). (1999). Wellbeing: The foundations of hedonic psychology. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  33. Kahneman, D., Krueger, A. B., Schkade, D., Schwarz, N., & Stone, A. (2004). Toward national wellbeing accounts. American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 94(2), 429–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kwan, V. S. Y., Bond, M. H., & Singelis, T. S. (1997). Pancultural explanations for life satisfaction: Adding relationship harmony to self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1038–1051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lai, J. C. L., & Cheng, S. T. (2004). Health beliefs, optimism, and health-related decisions: A study with Hong Kong Chinese. International Journal of Psychology, 39, 179–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lohman, N. (1977). Correlations of life satisfaction, moral and adjustment measures. Journal of Gerontology, 32, 73–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lyubomirsky, S. (2001). Why are some people happier than others? American Psychologist, 56(3), 239–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness: A scientific approach to getting the life you want. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  39. Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Makikangas, A., & Kinnunen, U. (2003). Psychosocial work stressors and wellbeing: Self-esteem and optimism as moderators in a one year longitudinal sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 35(3), 537–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1994). A collective fear of the collective: Implications for selves and theories of selves. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 568–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Matsumoto, D. (1999). Culture and self. An empirical assessment of Markus and Kitayama’s theory of independent and interdependent self-construals. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 2, 289–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Oishi, S. (2001). Culture and memory for emotional experiences: On-line versus retrospective judgments of subjective well-being. Dissertation Abstract International, 61(10-B), 5625.Google Scholar
  45. Oishi, S., Diener, E., Lucas, R. E., & Suh, E. M. (1999). Cross-cultural variations in predictors of life satisfaction: Perspectives from needs and values. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 980–990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Oyserman, D., Coon, H., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). Rethinking individualism and collectivism: Evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 3–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pedhazur, E. J. (1997). Multiple regression in behavioural research (2nd ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  48. Scheier, M. F., Carver, C. S., & Bridges, M. W. (1994). Distinguishing optimism from neuroticism: A re-evaluation of the life orientation test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063–1078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sheldon, K. M., Ryan, R. M., Rawsthorne, L. J., & Ilardi, B. (1997). Trait self and true self: Cross-role variation in the big-five personality traits and its relations with psychological authenticity and wellbeing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1380–1393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Singelis, T. M. (1994). The measurement of independent and interdependent self-construal. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20(5), 580–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Singelis, T., Bond, M. H., Sharkey, W. F., & Lai, C. S. Y. (1999). Unpacking culture’s influence on self-esteem and embarrassability. The role of self-construals. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 30(3), 315–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Singelis, T. M., Yamada, A. M., Barrio, C., Laney, J. H., Her, P., Ruiz-Anaya, A., et al. (2006). Metric equivalence of the bi-dimensional acculturation scale, the satisfaction, with life scale, and the self-construal scale and English language version. Hispanic Journal of Behavioural Sciences, 28, 231–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Suh, E. M. (2000). Self, the hyphen between culture and subjective well-being. In E. Diener & E. M. Suh (Eds.), Culture and subjective well-being (pp. 63–86). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  54. Suh, E., Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Triandis, H. C. (1998). The shifting basis of the life satisfaction judgments across cultures: Emotions versus norms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 482–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Suh, E. M., & Oishi, S. (2002). Subjective well-being across cultures. In W. Lonner, D. L. Dinnel, S. A. Hayes & D. N. Sattler (Eds.), Online readings in psychology and culture. http://www.wwu.edu/~culture. Center for Cross-Cultural Research, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA.
  56. Tennant, R., Hiller, L., Fishwick, R., Platt, S., Joseph, S., Weich, S., et al. (2007). The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS): Development and UK validation. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 5(63), 1–13.Google Scholar
  57. Tov, W., & Diener, E. (2007). Culture and wellbeing. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of cultural psychology (pp. 691–713). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  58. Triandis, H. D. (1989). The self and social behaviour in differing cultural contexts. Psychological Review, 96, 506–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Utz, S. (2004). Self-activation is a two-edged sword: The effects of primes on co-operation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 769–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Veenhoven, R. (1993). Happiness in nations. Subjective appreciation of life in 56 nations, 19461992. RISBO, Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Updated version on Internet: http://www.eur.nl/fsw/research/happiness/.
  61. Veenhoven, R. (2007). Subjective measures of wellbeing. In McGillivray (Ed.). Human wellbeing’, concept and measurement (pp. 214–239). New Hampshire: Palgrave/McMillan.Google Scholar
  62. Wrosch, C., & Scheier, M. F. (2003). Personality and quality of life: The importance of optimism and goal adjustment. Quality of Life Research, 12, 59–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. You, J., Fung, H. H., & Isaacowitz, D. M. (2009). Age differences in dispositional optimism: A cross-cultural study. European Journal of Aging, 6, 247–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elaine Duncan
    • 1
  • Veronica Ornaghi
    • 2
  • Ilaria Grazzani
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Allied Health Sciences, School of Health and Life ScienceGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowScotland
  2. 2.Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Human Sciences R. MassaUniversità degli Studi di Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  3. 3.Facoltà di Scienze della FormazioneUniversità degli Studi di Milano BicoccaMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations