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Structural Location and Personality during the Transformation of Poland and Ukraine

Melvin L. Kohn, Wojciech Zaborowski, Krystyna Janicka, Valeriy Khmelko, Bogdan W. Mach, Vladimir Paniotto, Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, Cory Heyman and Bruce Podobnik
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 65, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), pp. 364-385
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3090108
Page Count: 22
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Structural Location and Personality during the Transformation of Poland and Ukraine
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Abstract

In this paper we extend the analysis of social structure and personality, heretofore generally limited to the class positions and social-stratification levels of the employed, to encompass the nonemployed as well. We do this in a comparative study of Poland and Ukraine during an early period of their transformations from socialism to nascent capitalism. The analysis involves the systematic comparison of the nonemployed segments of the adult populations of these countries-those who were unemployed and looking for work, housewives, pensioners, and students-with the employed and with each other. The relationships between "structural location" and personality are statistically significant and nontrivial in magnitude, both for men and for women in both countries. Some of these relationships appear to reflect the extent of job loss and the resulting social compositions of the nonemployed segments of the population. The relationships result also, in substantial part, from the conditions of life experienced by the nonemployed segments of the population. Some of the nonemployed (most of all, the involuntary housewives) were subjected to economic duress, resulting in a sense of distress. Moreover, the conditions of life of unemployed and pensioned Poles (we do not have comparable data for Ukraine) were not as conducive to, or requiring of, complex activity as are those of gainfully employed men and women. This finding helps explain their relatively low levels of intellectual flexibility and self-directedness of orientation.

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