Disadvantages of being an individualist in an individualistic culture: Idiocentrism, emotional competence, stress, and mental health
Based on past cross-cultural research, it was hypothesised that people who had strong individualistic values and beliefs within an individualistic culture would have smaller social support networks, lower emotional competence, lower intentions to seek help from a variety of sources, and poorer mental health. A total of 276 first-year students attending an Australian university completed an anonymous survey assessing individual differences in individualism (i.e., idiocentrism), social support, emotional competence, hopelessness, depression, and suicide ideation. As expected, idiocentrism was associated with smaller and less satisfying social support networks, less skill in managing both self and others' emotions, lower intentions to seek help from family and friends for personal and suicidal problems, and higher levels of hopelessness and suicide ideation. Thus, there appear to be social and psychological disadvantages associated with having strong individualistic values and beliefs within an individualistic culture. The implications of these findings for health promotion programs in schools and communities are discussed.
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