تفاوت های فرهنگی در هنجارهای اجتماعی درک شده و اضطراب اجتماعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|32963||2006||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 44, Issue 8, August 2006, Pages 1187–1197
Cultural considerations in social anxiety are a rarely investigated topic although it seems likely that differences between countries in social norms may relate to the extent of social anxiety. The present study investigated individuals’ personal and perceived cultural norms and their relation to social anxiety and fear of blushing. A total of 909 participants from eight countries completed vignettes describing social situations and evaluated the social acceptability of the behavior of the main actor both from their own, personal perspective as well as from a cultural viewpoint. Personal and cultural norms showed somewhat different patterns in comparison between types of countries (individualistic/collectivistic). According to reported cultural norms, collectivistic countries were more accepting toward socially reticent and withdrawn behaviors than was the case in individualistic countries. In contrast, there was no difference between individualistic and collectivistic countries on individuals’ personal perspectives regarding socially withdrawn behavior. Collectivistic countries also reported greater levels of social anxiety and more fear of blushing than individualistic countries. Significant positive relations occurred between the extent to which attention-avoiding behaviors are accepted in a culture and the level of social anxiety or fear of blushing symptoms. These results provide initial evidence that social anxiety may be related to different cultural norms across countries.
The past decade has seen a growing recognition of the intricate interplay between culture and psychopathology. Some research has focused on psychopathologic manifestations of a specific disorder across cultures (Draguns & Tanaka-Matsumi, 2003) while in other studies, the focus has been on comparing disorder-typical symptoms across cultures (e.g., Kleinknecht, Dinnel, Kleinknecht, Hiruma, & Harada, 1997). In addition, Draguns and Tanaka-Matsumi (2003) concluded that, although culture has a considerable impact upon psychopathology, there is a lack of knowledge about “kinds of features or dimensions of culture” that “are implicated in generating the distinctive manifestations of disturbance of a given time and place” (p. 767). It is the purpose of the present study to compare social anxiety across cultures and to examine the association between social anxiety and one such cultural feature, social behavioral norms (could also say “norms for social behavior”). In considering the relationship between culture and social anxiety, there are two competing hypotheses. First, it might be expected that countries1 that hold clear and stringent norms about socially appropriate behavior will be characterized by lower levels of social anxiety than countries in which social behavior is less norm governed. In cultures where unequivocal social norms are held by the group, individuals know precisely what is expected from them in a social situation, and this in turn may help to minimize social distress. On the other hand, the opposite may be true. Specifically, levels of social anxiety may be higher in countries in which social norms are clear and extensive than in countries with more relaxed social norms because the consequences of breaking these norms are considerably greater. Hofstede (1984) and Hofstede (2001) introduced the dimension of “Uncertainty avoidance”. This is the extent to which members of a country can tolerate ambiguous situations. These are usually situations which are novel or unknown and may include some uncontrollability. This intolerance of ambiguity at the cultural level has been measured with the Uncertainty Avoidance Index and it is strongly related to anxiety. Thus, there is at least some evidence that a cultural phenomenon is related to anxiety and well-being on an individual level. Little attention has been focused on the question of which countries hold more stringent social norms and expectations. However, another related concept that has been given a considerable degree of attention in cross-cultural research is the notion of individualism/collectivism (Hofstede (1984) and Hofstede (2001); Singelis, 1994). In collectivistic cultures, harmony within the group is the highest priority and individual gain is considered to be less important than improvement of the broader social group. Thus, in collectivistic countries it is likely that more overt social norms will exist to maintain social harmony. In contrast, in individualistic societies, individual achievements and success receive the greatest reward and social admiration. Hence, social norms may be less frequent and less overt since fitting into society is a less valued concept. Lucas, Diener, Grob, Suh and Shao (2000) demonstrated that social contacts serve different purposes in individualistic versus collectivistic cultures. In individualistic cultures, individual feelings and thoughts determine behavior more directly. In collectivistic cultures, harmony within the group is the highest priority, and norms and role expectations impact on behavior considerably. Thus, in collectivistic cultures more rules and guidelines for social behavior should exist that make social slips more obvious than in individualistic cultures. In continents and countries like Asia, South America, or Pacific Islands, strict social rules are supposed to be provided about what behavior is appropriate in certain social situations (e.g., Argyle, 1986). If an individual deviates from these social rules, they are threatened by sanctions, such as exclusion from the group. It is therefore highly relevant for individuals in such countries that their social behavior is evaluated as appropriate and positive (Suh, Diener, Oishi & Triandis, 1998). Further, norms are strong predictors of life satisfaction in collectivistic but not individualistic countries (Suh et al., 1998). A concept that is related to social anxiety is embarrassment (APA, 1994). Again, it is possible that embarrassment and, more specifically, the fear of embarrassment is related to social norms in a culture. Singelis and Sharkey (1995) have suggested that it is easier to embarrass individuals from South-East Asia because more rules for social behavior exist there. Asian individuals should therefore be more concerned about their social behavior because social deviations are easier to detect. Other authors have also suggested that embarrassment is more common in collectivistic cultures because it is induced by external sanctions whereas guilt and self-blame are more common in individualistic cultures because they are induced by internal sanctions (Scherer, Wallbott & Summerfield, 1986; Wallbott & Scherer, 1995). Thus, there is some evidence and considerable conjecture regarding different social norms between collectivistic societies including South-East Asian, and South American, and individualistic societies such as most Western countries. To our knowledge, no studies have yet been undertaken specifically comparing perceived individual and social norms between such societies. However, at least one study has assessed levels of social anxiety between countries (Kleinknecht et al., 1997). Although comparisons between societies are difficult to conduct due to possible differences in interpretation of questionnaire items, these authors reported means on social interaction anxiety of 24.6 (11.6) for participants from the USA and 29.8 (12.6) for Japanese participants. Close to one half standard deviation difference is actually quite large across a population. Therefore, it is possible that these data are consistent with the suggestion that stronger social rules in a society lead to greater levels of social anxiety. But these results clearly need to be replicated in a larger sample. In sum, it is not yet clear whether cultural factors may shape levels of social anxiety. There is little clear evidence relating to levels of symptoms of social anxiety or embarrassment across cultures but at least some evidence has suggested possible higher levels of social anxiety and a higher social significance of embarrassment in collectivistic relative to individualistic cultures. In addition, work is needed to determine whether social behavioral norms contribute to the hypothesized differences in social anxiety across countries. The first aim of the present study was to examine the extent to which social reticence vs. expressions of individuality are accepted or rejected by individuals in a given country. The second aim was to compare levels of social anxiety symptomatology and fears of blushing as an indicator of fear of visible embarrassment between countries. Finally, we put these measures together and aimed to investigate how the level of acceptance of social behavior relates to levels of social anxiety, and blushing. We expected that individuals from different countries would vary in the extent to which they accept social reticence or expression of individuality. We predicted that individuals from collectivistic countries would be more accepting toward the expression of social reticence and less accepting toward the expression of individuality on a personal as well as on a perceived cultural level. We also predicted that individuals from collectivistic countries would report greater social anxiety and fear of embarrassment than individuals from individualistic countries. And finally, we expected social anxiety and fear of blushing to be positively related with acceptance of social reticence on a personal as well as on a perceived cultural level.