Dion_and_Dion_1993 - 52 Peplau Hill and Rubin Plutzer...

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Unformatted text preview: 52 Peplau, Hill, and Rubin Plutzer, E. (1988). Work life, family life, and women’s support of feminism, American Sociological Review, 53, 6407649. Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the self. New York: Basic Books. Rubin, Z. (1970). Measurement of romantic love. Journal ofPersona/ity and Social Psychology, [6. 2657273. Rubin, 2., Hill, C. T., Peplau, L. A., & DunkelASchetter, C. (1980). Self—disclosure in dating couples: Sex roles and the ethnic of openness. Journal ofMarriage and the Family, 42, 305— 317. Rubin, Z., Peplau, L. A., & Hill, C. T. (1981). Loving and leaving: Sex differences in romantic attachments. Sex Rules, 7. 8217835. Smith, A. D., Resiek, P. A., & Kilpatrick, D. G. (1980). Relationships among gender, sex‘role attitudes, sexual attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors. Psychological Reports, 46, 359—367. Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. t 1972). The Attitudes toward Women Scale: An objective instrument to measure attitudes toward the rights and role of women in contemporary society. Journal Supplement Abstract Service Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 2, 66767 (MS. No. 153). Spence, J. T., Helmreich, R., & Stapp, J. (1973). A short version of the Attitudes Toward Women Scale (AWS). Bulletin ofthc Psvchonomic Society, 2, 219—220. Thompson, E. H., Grisanti, C, & Pleck, J. H. (1985). Attitudes toward the male role and their correlates. Sex Roles, [3, 4134127. Thomton, A. (1989). Changing attitudes toward family issues in the United States. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 5/, 873—893. Van chren, N. W., & Buunk, B. P. (1991). Sex—role attitudes, social comparison, and satisfaction with relationships. Social Psychology Quarterly, 54, 1697180. Worell, J., & Worcll, L. (1977). Support and opposition to the women’s liberation movement: Some personality and parental correlates. Journal of Research in Personality, Il, |()fi20, LETITIA ANNE PEPLAU is Professor of Psychology at the University of Cali- fornia, Los Angeles, and President-Elect of the International Society for the Study of Personal Relationships. In recent years she has served at UCLA as the acting Director of the Center for the Study of Women and as Director of the Graduate Program in Social Psychology. The co—author of both introductory and social psychology texts, she co—edited the 1977 JSI issue on Sexual Behavior. CHARLES T. HILL received his PhD. in social psychology from Harvard University in 1975. He is now Professor of Psychology at Whittier College. His research interests include close relationships, sex roles, and research methodol— Og y. ZICK RUBIN, who received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Michigan, is Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Brandeis University and a practicing lawyer. He has published three books on close relationships (Liking and Loving, Children’s Friendships, and Relationships andDeve/opment) as well as a 1993 introductory text, Psychology. In recent years he has pursued links between psychology and legal issues, including testimonial privilege, defama- _ tion, copyright and trademark law, and jury selection. Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 49, No. 3, 1993. pp. 53769 Individualistic and Collectivistic Perspectives on Gender and the Cultural Context of Love and Intimacy Karen K. Dion and Kenneth L. Dion University of Toronto Individualism and collectivism help explain culture—related differences in nation— tic love and in the importance of emotional intimacy in marriage. Three proposi— tions are suggested: ( a ) Romantic love is more likely to be an important hasisfor marriage in individualistic than in collectivistic societies; ([7) psyclmlogical inti— macy in marriage is more important for marital satisfiiction and personal well— being in individualistic than in collectivistic societies; and (c) although individu— alism fosters the valuing of romantic love, certain aspects of individualism at the psychological level make developing intimacy problematic. Evidence pertaining to these propositions is considered based on conceptual and empirical accounts of romantic love and psychological intimacy in marriage in two individlatlistic societies (Canada and the United States) and three collectivislic societies (Chi— na, India, and Japan). In addition, we suggest that consideration of individual— ism and collectivism as these constructs pertain to gender provides aframework for interpreting gender dilferences in the reported experience of love and intii macy in North American society. They met, fell in love, decided to marry (or cohabit), and hoped to live happily ever after. To many North Americans, this depiction of the development 'of an intimate relationship between a woman and a man has been an enduring Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to either Karen K. Dion, Diwsion of Life Sciences, Scarborough Campus, University of Toronto, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada MIC 1A4, or Kenneth L. Dion, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada MSS lAl. Preparation of this article was facilitated by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC) grant to the first author. The authors would like to express their appreciation to Arthur Aron, Val Derlega, Susan Sprecher, and Barbara Winstead for their helpful and constructive comments on earlier versions of this article. 53 0022-4537/‘)3l0900»0053$07.00/l © 1993 The Society for the Psychological Study at Social Issues 54 Dion and Dion prototype, and its features seem very familiar and self-evident. This depiction, however, reflects several assumptions about the nature of intimate, opposite—sex relationships that are culturally based. These assumptions are by no means uni- versally shared, particularly in non—Western societies; even in Western societies, this view of love, intimacy, and marriage has not always prevailed. We have contended that a cultural perspective is needed to understand the factors contributing to the development of Close relationships (Dion & Dion, 1979, 1988). The first step in theory building in this area is to identify conceptual dimensions that have the potential to provide an integrative framework. We believe that the dimensions of individualism and collectivism are key constructs with this potential for the topic of close relationships. These dimensions have been acknowledged by scholars from diverse cultural backgrounds to be of conceptual relevance for understanding the social structuring of relationships. We have previously suggested that there are cultural differences in views of self and that these differences in self-construal have implications for understanding the experience of romantic love and intimacy in heterosexual relationships (Dion & Dion, 1988). In the present article, we present a more fully elaborated conceptual frame- work linking individualism and collectivism to culture-related and gender—related differences in close relationships and consider the evidence relevant to three conceptual propositions. We discuss the contrasts in the social construction of love and intimacy in two societies where individualism has been a dominant value orientation (the United States and Canada) and three Asian societies in which a collectivistic orientation has prevailed (China, India, and Japan). Our analysis is therefore most directly applicable to the manifestations of individual- ism and collectivism in these societies. Moreover, although we focus on the contrasts between individualism and collectivism in this article, as work in this area develops, additional conceptual and empirical analysis of culture and close relationships will be needed to compare different individualistic societies and different collectivistic societies, respectively. Individualism and Collectivism: Cultural Perspectives The constructs of individualism and collectivism concern the relation be— tween the individual and the group as reflected across many domains of social functioning (Hofstede, 1984). Individualism has been defined as “the subordina~ tion of the goals of the collectivities to individual goals while collectivism involves the opposite, namely, “the subordination of individual goals to the goals of a collective” (Hui & Triandis, 1986, pp. 244—245). These constructs have been conceptualized at the cultural level and at the personal level, and it is important to distinguish these two levels (Kim, 1993). Societies are labeled as “individualistic” or “collectivistic” when these value orientations characterize the Culture, Gender, and Love ‘75 majority of individual members (Hui & Triandis, 1986). Within a given society, however, individual differences exist in adherence to the prevailing orientation. We have proposed using the terms societal individualism and socieml collectiv- ism to refer to these constructs at the cultural level and psychological individual- ism and psychological collectivism to designate these constructs at the individual level (Dion & Dion, 1991). . In his seminal work in this area, Hofstede (1984) proposed that the follow— ing features distinguished individualistic as compared to collectivistic societies. In societies characterized by individualism, the emphasis is on promotirg one’s self-interest and that of one’s immediate family. The individuals rights rather than duties are stressed, as are personal autonomy, self-realization, individual initiative, and decision making. Personal identity is defined by the individual's attributes. Prototypic examples of individualistic societies in Hofstede‘s studv were the United States, Australia, Great Britain, and Canada. At the personal level, individualism is characterized by valuing one ’s independence and showing less concern for other persons’ needs and interests (Hui & Triandis, 1936). In contrast, collectivistic societies, according to Hofstede, are characterized as stressing the importance of the individual’s loyalty to the group, which in turn safeguards the interests and well—being of the individual. Other features include reduced personal privacy, a sense of personal identity based on one’s place in one’s group, a belief in the superiority of group compared to individual deci— s10ns, and emotional dependency on groups and organizations. Among the Asian countries and city states in l-lofstede’s sample characterized by the above features were Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Pakistan. At the personal level, col— lectivism is manifested by concern about interpersonal bonds, greater awareness of and responsiveness to the needs of others reflecting a sense of interconnected- ness, and interdependence (Hui & Triandis, 1986). These contrasts between individualism and collectivism are reflected in the psychological concepts underlying North American compared to Asian analvses of personal and interpersonal functioning. For example, concepts that have been salient in North American personality and social psychology, such as locus of control, self-actualization, and self-esteem, can be regarded as different mani— festations of individualism (Waterman, 1984). As a result of her or his personal ch01ces across the diverse areas of life, the individual can “realize a variety of inherent potentialities and capabilities” and organize personal identity based on these choices (Roland, I988, p. 330). In this context, a sense of self as indepen— dent is likely, characterized by features such as valuing personal uniqueness, ' self-expression, and the realization of personal goals (Markus & Kiteyama, 1991). ' Asian scholars have contended that psychological concepts emerging from an indiVidualistic orlentation constrain a full understanding of human function— _‘1ng. (Western scholars, too, have been critical of the pervasive impact of individ— 56 Dion and Dion ualism as shown by Bellah et a1., 1985; Hogan, 1975; Sampson, 1977, 1985). Asian and some Western behavioral scientists have identified psychological con— structs pertaining to interpersonal functioning that are derived from a collectivistic social structure. Based on these analyses, there is evidence that the social construc- tion of self and other differs greatly in individualistic as contrasted with collectiv— istic societies. Specifically, many important concepts in Asian societies, such as amue, are inherently relational (Ho, 1982). They reflect a sense of self as interde— pendent, rather than independent (Hsu, 1971; Markus & Kitayama, 1991). To illustrate the emphasis on interdependence that characterizes many con- structs from Asian psychology, the Japanese construct of umae, which has been discussed extensively by Doi (1962, 1963, 1977, 1988) provides a good exam— ple. The verb form of this noun is amueru, which is defined as “to depend and presume upon another’s benevolence" (Doi, 1962). A Japanese person who wishes to amaeru seeks to be a passive love object and to be indulged by another. The psychological prototype of (mule is the motherfinfant relationship (Doi, 1988). According to Doi (1988) and other scholars (Morsbach & Tyler, 1986), the expression of umae is aimed at psychologically denying the fact of one’s separation from the mother. Doi (1988) has used the umae concept as a single, sovereign principle for understanding Japanese personality as well as Japanese society. The people one can umaeru with impunity define insiders and include one’s parents, relatives, close friends, and others with whom one stands in an hierarchical relationship. According to Doi, among outsiders, one must exhibit restraint or enryu and suppress the expression of any dependency needs, which Japanese find unpleas— ant. A second example of cultural contrasts can be found in Roland's (1988) discussion of the familial self in India, which he compared with the North American imlividimlized self. In his analysis, the Indian conception of self is basically relational rather than autonomous. Roland suggested that the familial self developed in hierarchical relationships within the extended family in which the following qualities were present: strong emotional interdependence, rec1pro- cal demands for intilnacy and support, mutual caring, and a high degree of empathy and sensitivity to another’s needs and desires within the family struc- ture. Individualism and Collectivism: Gender Perspectives There are some conceptual parallels between the above discussion of cultur— al differences in the social construction of self—other relationships and analyses of gender differences in self~other construal within North American society. The characteristics of the relational self hypothesized to be prevalent in various Astan societies are similar to some aspects of self—construal suggested as characterizing Culture, Gender, and Love U! \1 many North American women. Various scholars have proposed that the social construction of self for many North American women is relational, while for many men, it is autonomous. Before discussing this hypothesized contrast, it should be acknowledged that individual differences in self—construal within gen— der also seem likely. Nonetheless, hypothesized gender differences in self— construal provide a provocative analytical framework. The following two exam— ples illustrate this viewpoint. (See also Lykes, 1985, and Markus & Kitayama, 1991, for an additional example and discussion of this issue.) Chodorow (1978) analyzed the relation between the role of women as primary care givers in the family and the development of a sense of personal identity in their daughters and sons. She argued that primary parenting by women fostered the emergence of a “sense of self . . . continuous with others” for girls, while boys were encouraged to develop a more autonomous and distinct sense of self (Chodorow, 1978, p. 207). She suggested that this autonomous orientation ultimately made satisfying the emotional needs of others more problematic for men than for women. Bardwick (1980) suggested that the predominant mode of self—construal for women has been either a dependent or an interdependent mode, both of which involve the self defined in the context of relationships. The former involves a sense of dependency, both psychologically and economically, as would be the case in a traditional marriage. The latter type involves both a “sense of self” but at the same time an awareness of the reciprocal aspects of an intimate relation— ship. With reference to Levinson’s (1978) theory of adult development in which individuation is a key developmental task, Bardwick commented that this partic— ular view of development was “very American and very male” and contrasted markedly with a view of adulthood as a time for “meeting responsibilities within relationships” (p. 40). She suggested that an individualistic, egocentric view of self characterized only a small minority of women. Considered together, the above conceptual analyses suggest that in some individualistic societies there are gender differences in self—construal that in turn may be related to the experience of romantic love and the capacity for intimacy in Close relationships. Although the focus here is on gender differences, there are other important individual difference dimensions that also are related to the experience of love and intimacy for both women and men (see Dion & Dion, 1985; Worell, 1988). Finally, this perspective raises some intriguing questions about the relation between gender and the experience of love and intimacy in collectivistic soci- eties. Specifically, ifthe mode of se1f~construal is interdependent for women and for men, this social construction of self should facilitate the capacity for intimacy for both sexes. As will be evident however, in collectivistic societies both gender 1 and cultural factors are related to the expression of intimacy in particular close relationships, such as marriage. 58 Dion and Dion 1n the remainder of this article, we propose that individualistic societies (the United States and Canada) differ from collectivistic ones (China, India, and Japan) in the social construction of love and intimacy. Moreover, we suggest that gender and cultural differences in the reported experience of love and intimacy in heterosexual relationships are related in part to differences in self—construal. Love and Intimacy Proposition 1 .' Romantic love is more likely to be considered an important basis for marriage in societies where individualism as contrasted with collectivism is a dominant cultural value. As noted at the start of this article, marriage based on romantic love may seem like a description of the natural progression of intimacy to many North Americans. It has been suggested, however, that romantic love is most likely to emerge in particular societal contexts. For example, Averill (1985) suggested a relation between aspects of romantic love such as idealization of the lover for his or her unique qualities and “individuation of the self” (Averill, 1985, p. 101). Both during earlier periods of Western history and in some Asian societies, Averill argued that since personal identity was not highly differentiated from the group, the social context did not provide the conditions in which romantic ideal- ization could develop. The conceptual link between the presence of romantic love and societal individualism has been commented on by other scholars. Bellah and his col— leagues discussed the pervasive impact of individualism in both the public and the private domain of American life (Bellah et al., 1985). They used the term “expressive individualism,” referring to the need for self—expression and self— realization, to describe the role of individualism in the private domain of life, including intimate relationships. In this context, romantic love provided the chance for exploring and revealing dimensions of oneself, with each member of the couple seeking to share their “real selves” with one another (Bellah et a...
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