A cross-cultural examination of individual values, worry, and mental health status

Open Access
Nicolas, Mario George
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
August 09, 2001
Committee Members:
  • Ruben Echemendia, Committee Chair
  • Louis Georges Castonguay, Committee Member
  • Juris G Draguns, Committee Chair
  • Dennis Edward Heitzmann, Committee Member
  • individual values
  • cross cultural studies
  • worry
  • values
  • mental health
This study investigated the generalizability of a social psychological conceptualization of worry developed by Boehnke, Schwartz, Stromberg, and Sagiv (1998) and a pancultural model of individual values developed by Schwartz (1992) to an American sample of mixed ethnicity. More specifically, this study investigated the validity of micro worry (i.e. worry about personal concerns) and macro worry (i.e. worry about broader societal issues) constructs and their relationship to clinical conceptualizations of worry. It was expected that micro worry would be correlated with negative indicators of mental health and personal well being while macro worry would be correlated with positive indicators of these variables. It was also expected that the micro worry construct would be positively correlated with measures of clinical worry. The construct of value concordance (i.e. the disparity between a participant's endorsement of a value type on the PCVS from the sample mean) was also investigated. It was expected that the endorsement of highly discordant values would be related to negative indicators of mental health and personal well being. Furthermore, this latter effect was predicted to be influenced by ethnicity with value concordance effects predicted to be stronger for African American participants. Participants were college students of whom 55 were African American women and 67 White American women; male participants included 48 African Americans and 36 White Americans. Correlations in the predicted direction were obtained between micro worries and self-report measures of positive and negative affect, general mental health status, and life satisfaction. Contrary to expectations, correlations between macro worry and the same self-report measures were either not obtained or inconsistent with predictions. As expected, correlations between micro worry on the Micro Macro Worries Scale (MMWS) and two other self-report measures of worry derived and validated in a clinical treatment context were found. Significant effects were discovered for value discordance with self-report measures of macro worry and positive affect. In reference to interaction between ethnicity and value discordance, it was found that: (a) African Americans low in discordance for the value of stimulation report less worry and those high in stimulation discordance report less life satisfaction, (b) White Americans low in discordance for the stimulation value type report more worry, (c) White Americans high in discordance for the self-direction value type report poorer mental health while African Americans high in self-direction discordance report greater mental health, (d) White Americans low in discordance for the tradition value type report more life satisfaction and those high in tradition discordance report less positive affect. Other findings provided no support for the mediating effects of stress on ethnocultural differences in reported distress and symptoms. Differences between African American and White Americans were significant in individual values, worry, subjective well being, and general mental health status.