Value Priorities of Younger and Older Adults in Seven European Countries

Abstract

This paper addresses the question of whether the value priorities of older and younger adults differ, and if so, whether the pattern of differences is similar in countries with different experience of economic, political and social change. The data from the 2008 wave from ESS about responses to a 21-item version of the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ, Schwartz 2003) were used to compare value priorities in younger (under 30 years) and older adults from five East-Central European countries—Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Russia—and two relatively stable Nordic welfare states—Finland and Sweden. The study found a clear general trend for younger adults toward Openness to Change and Self-Enhancement on the two value dimensions. Age group differences were more pronounced in East-Central countries, and on Conservation—Openness to Change dimension. Younger people from different countries had more similar values than older adults in regard to the importance placed on Openness to Change. The discussion focused on possible reasons of the findings such as the different effect of societal change on value priorities of people from different age groups.

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Acknowledgments

Research for this article was supported by Grants from the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research IUT 20-40, and the Estonian Science Foundation Grant 9033.

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Correspondence to Tiia Tulviste.

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Tulviste, T., Kall, K. & Rämmer, A. Value Priorities of Younger and Older Adults in Seven European Countries. Soc Indic Res 133, 931–942 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-016-1392-4

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Keywords

  • Values
  • Age
  • Openness to change
  • Self-enhancement
  • East-Central Europe
  • Finland
  • Sweden