Cultural Bases for Self-Evaluation: Seeing Oneself Positively in Different Cultural Contexts

Maja Becker*, Vivian L. Vignoles, Ellinor Owe, Matthew J. Easterbrook, Rupert Brown, Peter B. Smith, Michael Harris Bond, Camillo Regalia, Claudia Manzi, Maria Brambilla, Said Aldhafri, Roberto González, Diego Carrasco, Maria Paz Cadena, Siugmin Lay, Inge Schweiger Gallo, Ana Torres, Leoncio Camino, Emre Özgen, Ülkü E. GünerNil Yamakoǧlu, Flávia Cristina Silveira Lemos, Elvia Vargas Trujillo, Paola Balanta, Ma Elizabeth J. Macapagal, M. Cristina Ferreira, Ginette Herman, Isabelle de Sauvage, David Bourguignon, Qian Wang, Márta Fülöp, Charles Harb, Aneta Chybicka, Kassahun Habtamu Mekonnen, Mariana Martin, George Nizharadze, Alin Gavreliuc, Johanna Buitendach, Aune Valk, Silvia H. Koller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Several theories propose that self-esteem, or positive self-regard, results from fulfilling the value priorities of one's surrounding culture. Yet, surprisingly little evidence exists for this assertion, and theories differ about whether individuals must personally endorse the value priorities involved. We compared the influence of four bases for self-evaluation (controlling one's life, doing one's duty, benefitting others, achieving social status) among 4,852 adolescents across 20 cultural samples, using an implicit, within-person measurement technique to avoid cultural response biases. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses showed that participants generally derived feelings of self-esteem from all four bases, but especially from those that were most consistent with the value priorities of others in their cultural context. Multilevel analyses confirmed that the bases of positive self-regard are sustained collectively: They are predictably moderated by culturally normative values but show little systematic variation with personally endorsed values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-675
Number of pages19
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • culture
  • identity
  • self-esteem
  • self-evaluation
  • values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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