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Independent self and collective self: a comparison between local students and Mainland new comers on actual and ideal self construal

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  • Self Construal
  • Independent Self
  • Collective Self
  • Cultural Difference


Objectives: The two studies examined the cultural differences in self construals and in the actual-ideal self ratings on the construals between Hong Kong local students and Mainland new comers. Methods: Secondary school students (Study 1) and university students (Study 2) completed questionnaires that assess their Independent Self Construal and Interdependent Self Construal under different manipulated situations. In particular, the questionnaires consist of four parts: (1) demographic details; (2) Actual Self Construal; (3) Ideal Self Construal; and (4) manipulation check. Results: In Study 1, consistent with previous empirical findings, individuals from a more collectivistic subculture (i.e., Mainland) were actually higher in interdependent self construal, whereas individuals from a more individualistic subculture (i.e., Hong Kong) were actually higher in independent self construal. In terms of ideal self construal, local students were more independent than new comers, whereas no significant cultural difference was found with interdependent self construal. For the result in Study 2, regardless of actual or ideal self construal, students from Mainland China were higher in collective self construal and there was no significant difference in the independent self construal. Results showed an interesting link in actual-ideal self ratings on the construal between the two subcultural groups. Discussion: The present project provides evidence for cultural explanations on the coexistence of dual selves, the ideal self construal, and the discrepancies of the self construal between local Hong Kong youngsters and new immigrants from Mainland China. Besides, the adjustment patterns of Mainland new comers have some implications for the association between self construal and coping strategies.

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