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Self-Enhancement and Self-Effacement in Reaction to Praise and Criticism: the Case of Multi-ethnic Youth

2008
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Self-Enhancement and Self-Effacement in Reaction to Praise and Criticism: the Case of Multi-ethnic Youth

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We conducted research on the independent and interdependent self which points to cultural differences in self-enhancing versus self-effacing perspectives. We investigated members of multi-ethnic, high school, girls’ sports teams and their tendencies to interpret praise or criticism in a self-effacing or self-enhancing manner. This investigation differs from other studies on the independent and interdependent self in several respects: (1) it is naturalistic; (2) it focuses on ethnic differences within a multicultural society, rather than on cross-national comparison; (3) primary data sources are qualitative; (4) we analyzed cultural perspectives of researchers and participants; and (5) its focus is on adolescence. Euro-American and African American participants shared a more self-enhancing perspective, while Asian American and Latina participants shared a more self-effacing perspective. Differing cultural perspectives produced conflict when participants were faced with contrasting interpretations of praise and criticism.

Suzuki, L., Davis, H., & Greenfield, P. (2008). Self-enhancement and self-effacement in reaction to praise and criticism: the case of multiethnic youth. Ethos, 36(1), 78-97.

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