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Self-enhancement and self-protection strategies in China: cultural expressions of a fundamental human motive

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The motive to enhance and protect positive views of the self manifests in a variety of cognitive and behavioral strategies, but its universality versus cultural specificity is debated by scholars. We sought to inform this debate by soliciting self-reports of the four principal types of self-enhancement and self-protection strategy (positivity embracement, favorable construals, self-affirming reflections, defensiveness) from a Chinese sample and comparing their structure, levels, and correlates to a Western sample. The Chinese data fit the same factor structure and were subject to the same individual differences in regulatory focus, self-esteem, and narcissism, as the Western data. Chinese participants reported lower levels of (enhancement-oriented) positivity embracement but higher levels of (protection-oriented) defensiveness than Western participants. Levels of favorable construals were also higher in the Chinese sample, with no differences in self-affirming reflections. These findings support and extend the universalist perspective on the self by demonstrating the cross-cultural structure, yet culturally sensitive manifestation, of self-enhancement motivation.

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Citation

Hepper, Erica G., Sedikides, Constantine and Cai, H. (2013) Self-enhancement and self-protection strategies in China: cultural expressions of a fundamental human motive Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44, (1), pp. 5-23. (doi:10.1177/0022022111428515).

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2013

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Local EPrints ID: 346954
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/346954
ISSN: 0022-0221
PURE UUID: 2354e8a4-a4f5-4031-8bd1-4cf91e85213f

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Date deposited: 21 Jan 2013 14:48
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:00

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Author: Erica G. Hepper
Author: H. Cai

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