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Asian Ethnicity and the Sense of Personal Control

Jaya Sastry and Catherine E. Ross
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 61, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 101-120
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2787064
Page Count: 20
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Asian Ethnicity and the Sense of Personal Control
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Abstract

The relationship between the sense of personal control and psychological wellbeing is well established, but this association may be specific to Western cultures. In this study we examine the relationship between Asian culture and the sense of personal control, and the impact of perceived control on depression and anxiety among Asians and non-Asians. Using the World Values Survey and the combined responses of four surveys in the United States. we find that Asian Americans and Asians in Asia (Japan, South Korea, China, and India) both report lower levels of perceived control than non-Asians. Furthermore, the sense of personal control has less of an impact on psychological distress for Asians. Finding are interpreted in terms of Asian collectivist values. Compared with individualistic Western cultures, Asian cultures emphasize selfless subordination to family and community, which may decrease levels of personal control. Furthermore, the dictates of collectivist cultures are such that high levels of personal control among Asians may be a norm violation. For this reason, high levels of perceived control may be associated less strongly with psychological well-being for Asians.

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