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Please read the instructions CAREFULLY  and answer all parts of the discussion questions.
Discussion 1: Challenges to Cross-Cultural Research
Challenges to cross-cultural research are ample and significant. Pragmatic issues may preclude long term immersion in the culture due to financial issues or lack of sufficient time. Additionally, translation issues may make it difficult to achieve a one-to-one correspondence on questionnaire items used in multiple cultures and languages. Additionally, there are often delicate negotiations across gender, age, status, religious, and economic backgrounds that can involve power and privilege in ways that require careful and appropriate discussion to resolve ethically and to preserve the integrity of the research, researchers, and research participants. As you move forward in your future professional work, take the time to consider the challenges researchers face in light of the growing need to further understand the diverse cultures in the world at large. You will find that this type of research will be critically important to further your professional growth and knowledge.
 Examine the challenges to cross-cultural research. 
Post and explain three major challenges to conducting cross-cultural research. Then, suggest one way to solve one of the challenges.
Note: Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and identify current relevant literature to support your work.
Discussion 2: Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Methods in Cross-Cultural Research
In cross-cultural psychology research, a broad range of techniques is utilized to determine the best way to access critical data. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, laboratory experiments may offer great control and ability to examine issues of cause and effect, but may not always reflect actual real-world conditions, especially in cross-cultural situations. As an additional example, long-term fieldwork and interviews conducted by living in a given cultural setting for a year or two may offer the possibility of many nuanced observations, yet such qualitative work will not lead to statistical or experimental designs. Each method tends to have pros and cons, rather than one method being the “right” one for every situation. For this Discussion, you will explore the advantages and disadvantages of using different research methods in cross-cultural research.
Post and explain one advantage and one disadvantage of quantitative research for cross-cultural psychology. Then, describe one advantage and one disadvantage of qualitative research for cross-cultural psychology. Use examples from the studies provided to support your thinking.
Note: Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and identify current relevant literature to support your work.


Introduction to Special Section on Cross-Cultural Research
on Parenting and Psychological Adjustment of Children

Marwan Dwairy

Published online: 27 November 2009

� Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Abstract Parental factors such as control, rejection, and

inconsistency have been reported as associated with psy-

chological maladjustment. The papers in this Special Sec-

tion are based on a multi-national study examining the

association between these parental factors and adolescents’

psychological disorders in nine western and eastern coun-

tries, differing in family connectedness. Questionnaires

assessing these factors were administered to 2,884 male and

female adolescents. In this paper we discuss the parental

factors and describe the methodology. We hypothesize that

parental factors, family connectedness, and the association

between these factors and adolescents’ mental health differ

across cultures. In the papers that follow, we present the

results and discuss their implications.

Keywords Parental control � Rejection � Inconsistency �
Mental health � Culture


Since Freud, parents’ behavior has become a central factor

in our understanding of children’s mental health. Both

excessive satisfaction and extreme neglect of the child’s

needs may impair the psychological development of the

child (Freud 1923/1962). Since then, many parental factors

have been studied and associated with children’s psycho-

logical adjustment. Baumrind (1966, 1991, 2005) sug-

gested two orthogonal dimensions, high-low warmth and

high-low control, and Schaefer (1965) suggested another

two similar orthogonal dimensions (warmth-hostility and

detachment-involvement). Rohner (1986, 1999) focused on

the acceptance–rejection dimension. The literature about

these factors maintains that authoritarian and permissive

(Baumrind 1966), hostile and detached (Schaefer 1965)

and rejecting parenting (Rohner 1986) have a negative

impact on children’s psychological adjustment. Whatever

the parenting style, inconsistency and incoherent parenting

is another important factor associated with children’s

psychological disorders (Dwairy 2007; Dwairy et al. 2006).

This introduction to the Special Section reviews the

literature on parenting across cultures. We present Baum-

rind’s and Rohner’s approach to the study of the relation-

ship between parenting variables and children’s

psychological adjustment. In addition, this introduction

provides the initial empirical indications of the association

between inconsistent parenting and children’s psychologi-

cal adjustment.

Baumrind’s Parenting Styles

Baumrind (2005) indicated two orthogonal parental fac-

tors: responsiveness (warmth) and demandingness (con-

trol). Three major parenting styles emerged from her

studies: authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative.

Authoritarian parents emphasize control and obedience and

do not promote the child’s autonomy (Baumrind 1966;

Reitman et al. 2002). They enforce discipline through the

use of punishment and expect children to obey their orders

without arguing. The nurturing skills (warmth) of these

parents are low, while the control skills are high. They

rarely use words of comfort, and are unlikely to demon-

strate affection or to praise their children.

Permissive parents enable their children to make their

own decisions and regulate their own behavior. They do

M. Dwairy (&)
Ora St. 3b, P.O. Box 14710, Nazareth Elit 17000, Israel

e-mail: [email protected]


J Child Fam Stud (2010) 19:1–7

DOI 10.1007/s10826-009-9336-0

not behave as a figure of authority, and tend to be warm

and supportive. The nurturing skills of parents who adopt

the permissive style tend to be moderate to high, while

their control of their children is poor (Baumrind 1991,

2005; Reitman et al. 2002).

The authoritative parenting style is somewhere between

authoritarian and permissive parenting. Children reared in

this style are not completely constrained; they are allowed

a reasonable degree of latitude in their behavior. Authori-

tative parents do enforce limits in various ways such as

reasoning, verbal give and take, clear-cut instructions, and

positive reinforcement. Authoritative parents tend to have

good nurturing skills and exercise moderate parental con-

trol to allow the child to become progressively more

autonomous (Baumrind 1966, 1991, 2005; Reitman et al.


The authoritative parenting style has been associated

with better psychological adjustment of the children

(Baumrind 1991, 2005; Steinberg et al. 1991, 1992a, b).

Children of authoritative parents have a high level of self-

esteem and tend to be self-reliant, self-controlled, secure,

popular, and inquisitive (Buri et al. 1988; Wenar 1994).

(For review of parental styles, see Maccoby and Martin


In the literature on parenting, there are various over-

lapping and ill-defined concepts referring to authoritarian-

ism, such as controlling, strict, dominating, coercive,

restrictive, regimenting, intrusive, interfering, demanding,

and asserting their power. At the other end are terms such

as permissive, granting autonomy, indulgent, egalitarian,

democratic, and laissez-faire (Rohner and Khaleque 2003).

Regardless of the specific term used, authoritarian

(Baumrind 1991; Bigner 1994; Forward 1989; Whitfield

1987) and permissive parenting (Baumrind 1991; Bigner

1994; Wenar 1994) are associated with children’s mental

health problems, whereas authoritative parenting is asso-

ciated with better mental health and well-being (Buri et al.

1988; Lamborn et al. 1991).

Rohner’s Acceptance–Rejection and Control Theory

According to Rohner’s parental acceptance–rejection the-

ory, parenting styles can be placed on a continuum between

acceptance (warm and affectionate) and rejection (cold,

hostile, and indifferent), based on how warm they are

towards their children (Rohner 1999; Rohner et al. 2005).

The perceived rejection is a major parental factor, associ-

ated with several personality dispositions of children such

as hostility, conduct problems, depression, emotional

unresponsiveness, dependency, low self-esteem, low self-

adequacy, emotional instability, and a negative worldview.

It has been claimed that this association is universal

‘‘regardless of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeco-

nomic status, and other such defining conditions’’ (Khale-

que and Rohner 2002, p. 87). Adolescents’ reports of

higher parental rejection explained approximately 27 to

46% of the variance in their reports about psychological

adjustment (Kim et al. 2006).

Rohner’s theory also examines parental control, ranging

from permissiveness to strictness (Rohner et al. 2005).

Permissive parents do not control their children’s behavior

and allow them to do things their own way. Restrictive

parents enforce many rules and limit their children’s

autonomy. The relationship between parental control and

children’s psychological adjustment depends on the type of

control. Control that inhibits psychological development is

associated with depression, whereas behavioral control that

regulates the child’s behavior was associated with fewer

conduct problems (Barber et al. 1994) and better academic

achievement (Lamborn et al. 1991).

Both Rohner and Baumrind recognize the important role

played by warmth or acceptance, and by the authoritarian

or controlling parental dimension. In fact, studies on par-

enting and psychological disorders of children have

focused on two factors: rejection and control. Parental

rejection undermines self-esteem and promotes a negative

self-concept, a sense of helplessness, which are the build-

ing blocks of depression (Garber and Flynn 2001). Parental

control reduces perceived mastery and personal control

(Chorpita and Barlow 1998; Weisz et al. 2003), and

induces perceived helplessness (Garber and Flynn 2001).

Despite the recognition that parenting has a significant

influence on children’s mental health, we should be aware

that parenting is only one among many factors (e.g., social

and biological) that affect mental health. In a meta-analytic

study, parenting accounted for 8% of the variance in child

depression (McLeod et al. 2007), less than 4% in child

anxiety (McLeod et al. 2007), and less than 6% in exter-

nalizing problems (Rothbaum and Weisz 1994). Parental

rejection was more strongly related to depression (McLeod

et al. 2007) than was parental control, which was more

related to anxiety than was parental rejection (McLeod

et al. 2007).

Parenting and Culture

Culture is the primary source of information that guides

parental practices (Goodnow 1985). It determines basic

educational values, age-appropriate behavior, and parental

practices. Child-parent relationships differ across cultures

because parents behave according to the values and norms

endorsed in their own culture. Most studies examining the

socio-cultural role of interpersonal relationships have used

the concept of individualism vs. collectivism (Berry et al.

2 J Child Fam Stud (2010) 19:1–7


1992). In collective cultures and ‘‘tight’’ (Pelto 1968) or

‘‘uncertainty avoidance’’ cultures (Hofstede 2001), parents

tend to be more authoritarian and to emphasize obedience

and adherence in order to maintain the harmony of the

collective. On the other hand, parents in more liberal and

individualistic cultures tend to give their children more

freedom and to foster their individuality and separateness.

They encourage and view personal objectives and auton-

omy as signs of maturity. Despite these cultural differ-

ences, there are few studies on parent-adolescent

relationships from a cross-cultural perspective. Most pub-

lished studies on this relationship have dealt with American

adolescents (Youniss and Smollar 1985; Bogenschneider

et al. 1998), with little attention paid to various ethnic

groups living in the U.S. (Spencer and Dornbush 1990).

The relationship between parents and their children in

collective societies is closer and more mutually dependent

than in individualistic societies. In a regional study that

examined the inter-connectedness between adolescents and

their parents, Arab adolescents were found to be more

connected to their parents than American adolescents

(Dwairy et al. 2006).

The influence of parenting on the psychological

adjustment of children differs across cultures. Contrary to

reports indicating that authoritarian parenting has a nega-

tive influence, some researchers found that the authoritar-

ian parenting style has a positive impact among African

Americans in terms of assertiveness and independence

among girls (Baumrind 1972), and in terms of high-level

competency in a high-risk environment (Baldwin et al.

1990). Some researchers found that authoritarian parenting

has a positive influence among Asians and is associated

with better academic performance and achievements than

the authoritative style (Chao 2001; Leung et al. 1998;

Steinberg et al. 1994).

Baumrind (1996) emphasized that the consequences of

authoritarian parenting depend on cultural context and on

how it is perceived by the child. Many other studies indi-

cate that the influence of parental control depends on how it

is perceived by the child: Korean adolescents in Korea

perceive parental behavioral control as an indication of

acceptance, whereas Korean American adolescents per-

ceive higher parental behavioral control as a manifestation

of lower parental acceptance (Rohner and Pettengill 1985).

Among the Chinese, parental control is not viewed nega-

tively as restrictive and dominating, but as an organiza-

tional strategy, contributing to the harmonious functioning

of the family (Chao 2001) and is associated with caring and

love (Rohner and Pettengill 1985; Tobin et al. 1989).

Randolph (1995) thought that for African Americans

authoritarian parenting is associated with caring, love,

respect, protection from the dangers of the streets, and with

making life easier for the child. Kagitcibasi (1970, 2005)

considered parental control and warmth to be compatible in

many collectivistic cultures. It seems that authoritarian

parenting is consistent with the values of respect for par-

ents and adherence to them, prevailing in the collective


Dwairy’s Inconsistency Hypotheses

Unlike the negative effect of authoritarian parenting on

western adolescents, in a regional study carried out in eight

Arab countries, authoritarian parenting was not found to be

associated with adolescents’ psychological disorders

(Dwairy et al. 2006; Dwairy and Menshar 2006). Why does

authoritarian parenting have a negative impact on western

adolescents but not on Arab and other non-western ado-

lescents? In answer to this question, Dwairy et al. (2006)

suggested the inconsistency hypothesis, claiming that it is

the inconsistency between authoritarian parenting and the

liberal socio-cultural environment in the west, rather than

authoritarianism per se, that lies behind the negative impact

on adolescents’ psychological adjustment. When

authoritarian parenting is consistent or in harmony with the

socio-cultural environment, such as the authoritarian/col-

lective Arab or Asian cultures, authoritarian parenting per

se has no such negative impact. In support of the incon-

sistency hypothesis, Dwairy et al. (2006) found that the

inconsistent pattern of parenting that combines authoritar-

ian and permissive parenting was associated with psycho-

logical disorders of Arab adolescents.

Inconsistency in the child’s social environment is fre-

quently mentioned as one of the factors that may confuse

the child and impair learning and socialization processes

(Wenar 1994). Hersov (1960) pointed out that inconsis-

tency between maternal and paternal parenting styles may

increase separation anxiety and school phobia. Dadds

(1995) reported an association between inconsistent par-

enting and conduct disorders, and Patterson (1982) noted

that inconsistent parenting is associated with conduct


To examine the effect of the inconsistency factor in

parenting, Dwairy (2007) developed a scale for inconsistent

parenting and conducted preliminary research to validate

the scale and investigate the association between inconsis-

tent parenting and adolescents’ psychological disorders.

The results among Arab adolescents support the inconsis-

tency hypothesis. That is, inconsistency measures were

associated with psychological disorders, while none of the

authoritarian parenting measures were associated with

psychological disorders. The association between incon-

sistency and psychological disorders was more salient

among those adolescents who were more connected to their

parents than among those who were less so. This finding

J Child Fam Stud (2010) 19:1–7 3


suggests that inconsistent parenting is more damaging in

collective (more connected) societies than in individualistic

ones. Interestingly, Dwairy (2007) found no interaction

between the effects of inconsistency and authoritarian par-

enting, suggesting that inconsistency has its own indepen-

dent association with psychological disorders, with and

without authoritarian parenting. Dwairy suggested that in

addition to parental rejection and control, parental incon-

sistency should be dealt with as an important parental fac-

tor, influencing the psychological adjustment of children.

Based on the cross-cultural differences in the association

between child-parents relationship and psychological

adjustment of children, Dwairy and colleagues conducted

the research reported in this Special Section in western

(individualistic) and non-western (collectivistic) countries

to study the association between family-child connected-

ness, parental control, parental rejection, and parental

inconsistency on the one hand, and psychological disorders

of adolescents on the other. To the best of our knowledge,

this is the first cross-cultural study on parenting that

addresses multiple parenting factors simultaneously and

brings together parental inconsistency with other parental

factors studied so far.

Research on parenting and children’s psychological

adjustment has so far been typically one-factorial: testing

one parenting factor at a time. This reductionism under-

estimates the interaction effect and the overlap that exists

between different parenting factors (Soenens 2007) and

mistakenly deals with each factor as an independent one.

As a result of this approach, the association found between

certain parental factors and children’s mental health was

not consistent and some times even contradictory. Our

multiple factor research is based on a systemic research

approach suggested by Dwairy (2006), according to which

we assume that the association between one parenting

factor and children’s mental health varies when it is tested

in conjunction with, or without, other parenting factors. For

instance, the association between parental rejection and

children’s mental health will depend on the presence or

absence of one or more additional genetic, parental,

familial, school, social, and cultural factors. Therefore, it is

important to study the association between each parenting

factor and psychological disorders in conjunction with

many other parenting factors and other relevant factors

such as familial, social, economical, and cultural factors.


We administered the questionnaires in nine countries: three

western countries (France, Poland, and Argentina), and six

eastern countries or societies (Kuwait, Algeria, Saudi

Arabia, Bedouins in Israel, Jordan, and India) to 1,358

male and 1,526 female adolescents (see Table 1). Their

ages ranged from 15 to 17 years and they were studying in

the 10, 11, and 12th grades (469, 1,477, and 938, respec-

tively). The questionnaires were administered at the

schools and it took 50–60 min in each class. In accordance

with each country’s law, the consent of the school inspector

and/or the parents was obtained. Participation was volun-

tary; however, there were no refusals. Except for the

samples from India and Bedouins in Israel, all the samples

included urban and rural subjects. More urban respondents

were included in the eastern sample (83.0%) than in the

western one (69.3%). The Indian sample comprised middle

and upper class students, studying in an English speaking

school in India. The Bedouins in Israel are Arabs who had

lived in the desert within a tribal social system until the last

few decades. After they moved to small villages, they kept

their traditional tribal culture, which is very authoritarian

and collective. Within the tribal hierarchical system the

men and the elderly have absolute authority over all the

tribe members. Disobedience to this authority may result in

significant punishment (Alkernawi 2000; Alkernawi and

Graham 1997; Cwikel and Barak 2002).

In addition to the questionnaires related to parenting and

psychological adjustment, the students were asked to

complete a demographic questionnaire concerning their

families. They were asked to report on the number of

siblings, their parents’ education, and to rate their family’s

economic level from 1 = very low and 5 = very high ‘‘as

compared to the other students in the school.’’

The mean number of siblings in the western and eastern

families was 1.94 and 5.00, respectively. The mean number

of fathers’ school years was 12.62 in the west and 12.93 in

the east, suggesting that the vast majority of the parents had

finished high school. The percentage of fathers with higher

education was 62.6% in the west and 62.7% in the east.

The percentage of mothers with higher education was

67.7.6% in the west and 54.9% in the east. The mean of the

family economic level was 3.13 in the west and 3.23 in the

Table 1 The sample according to country and sex

Country Male Female Total

1 France 92 117 209

2 Poland 132 177 309

3 Argentina 140 184 324

4 Kuwait 257 244 501

5 Algeria 170 165 335

6 Saudi Arabia 126 341 467

7 Bedouins/Israel 65 102 167

8 Jordan 245 96 341

9 India 131 100 231

Total 1,358 1,526 2,884

4 J Child Fam Stud (2010) 19:1–7


east. These levels do not indicate the objective differences

in economical level of the western and eastern families,

because the subjects were asked to compare the economic

level of their family on a subjective rating scale to the other

students in their own school.


All the questionnaires were translated from the original

language (English or Arabic) to the language of each

country and then back-translated. The translation was

carried out by professionals who knew both languages and

understood the rationale of each instrument. Except for

India, the questionnaires were administered to the subjects

in their mother tongue. In India, the questionnaires were

administered in English in English-speaking schools to

students coming from the middle and upper class.

Multigenerational Interconnectedness Scale (MIS;

Gavazzi and Sabatelli 1987, 1988, 1990). This scale con-

sists of three subscales intended to assess emotional,

financial, and functional connectedness between the ado-

lescent and his/her family.

Dwairy’s Parental Authoritarianism and Inconsistency

Scale (DPAIS; Dwairy 2007). The scale assesses parental

authoritarianism in conjunction with parental inconsis-

tency. The scale measures parental control and three types

of parental inconsistency: temporal, situational, and father–

mother inconsistency. The temporal inconsistency indi-

cates the changes in parental reactions to the same situation

from time to time. The situational inconsistency indicates

the changes in the parental reaction from one situation to

another. The father-mother inconsistency indicates the

differences between paternal and maternal reactions.

Parental Acceptance Rejection Questionnaire PARQ

(Rohner and Khaleque 2003, 2005). The shortened form of

PARQ includes 29 items, each referring to father and

mother acceptance or rejection. The mean of the measures

on each group of items is considered to indicate paternal or

maternal rejection. The sum of the means of paternal and

maternal acceptance indicates parental acceptance and the

sum of the means of paternal and maternal rejection indi-

cates parental rejection.

The Psychological State Scale (PSS). This scale is based

on a larger scale of Psychological State (Hamuda and

Imam 1996). In the present study we measured three psy-

chological states: generalized anxiety, depression disorder,

and conduct disorder. Subjects were asked to rate their

level of endorsement of each item on a five-point scale.

The sum of all the 15 items is considered as a measure of

the general level of psychological disorders (PS), with a

low score indicating better mental health.

General Hypotheses

Our general hypotheses are as follows: (a) parenting (in

terms of control, acceptance–rejection, and inconsistency),

adolescents-parents connectedness, and adolescents’ psy-

chological adjustment differ across cultures and parents’

and family’s socio-economic level, and parents’ and ado-

lescents’ gender, and (b) there are cross-cultural differ-

ences in the association between parenting factors and

adolescents’ psychological adjustment.

The papers in the Special Section test more specific

hypotheses concerning adolescent-family connectedness,

parental control, parental inconsistency, parental rejection,

and the association between these parenting factors and the

psychological adjustment of youth. Four papers focus on

one parenting factor. Owing to the interactions and overlap

between the various parenting factors, the final paper

analyzes all of the factors together and examines their

associations to adolescent’s mental health.

In these papers we used ‘‘country’’ primarily as an

independent variable, as the statistical analysis progressed

we showed a clear clustering of this independent variable

into two cultural clusters: east and west. In order to con-

sider the moderator effect of culture (east vs. west) on

some nominal dependent variables tested we used moder-

ator ANOVA and reported the significance of the interac-

tion between the predictor (e.g., gender) and the moderator

(culture). In addition, in order to verify the internal validity

of family and parenting variables, in light of the assumed

differences between cultures, we conducted separate factor

analyses and internal consistencies (Chronbach’s alpha) in

the west and east.

The systemic integrative approach of our study, inte-

grating the parental inconsistency together with other par-

enting factors studied so far, and cultural diversity of our

sample and the large number of participants in our research

are considered among the strengths that make our findings

valid and credible, and generalizable across cultures. The

main shortcoming of our research is that it is based on

adolescents’ self-report questionnaires, with no way of

validating the results through parents’ self-reports. More

cross-cultural research is needed to validate the results

through other tools such as interviews, observations, and

other questionnaires, targeting both the parents and the


Acknowledgments I want to thank my colleague Mustafa Achoui
who administered the scales and encoded the data in Saudi Arabia,

Algeria, and Kuwait, and Anna Filus (Poland), Neharika Vohra

(India), Martina Casullo (Argentina), Parissa Rezvan Nia (France),

Huda Nijm (Jordan), and Lana Shhadi (Arabs in Israel) for their help

in translating and administering the questionnaires and encoding the

data of their countries.

J Child Fam Stud (2010) 19:1–7 5



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Qual Quant (2009) 43:265–275
DOI 10.1007/s11135-007-9105-3


A typology of mixed methods research designs

Nancy L. Leech · Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie

Received: 15 June 2006 / Accepted: 15 October 2006 / Published online: 27 March 2007
© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Abstract The mixed methods paradigm is still in its adolescence, and, thus, is still relatively
unknown and confusing to many researchers. In general, mixed methods research represents
research that involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative and qualitative data
in a single study or in a series of studies that investigate the same underlying phenomenon.
Over the last several years, a plethora of research designs have been developed. However, the
number of designs that currently prevail leaves the doctoral student, the beginning researcher,
and even the experienced researcher who is new to the field of mixed methods research with
the challenge of selecting optimal mixed methods designs. This paper presents a three-dimen-
sional typology of mixed methods designs that represents an attempt to rise to the challenge
of creating an integrated typology of mixed methods designs. An example for each design is
included as well as a notation system that fits our eight-design framework.

Keywords Mixed methods · Research design · Mixed methods design

1 Introduction

Understanding the various types of research designs can be a daunting task for many beginning
researchers, doctoral students, and others. For years, the choice has seemed to be dichoto-
mous; one could choose either a quantitative design or a qualitative design. Yet, there is a third
viable choice, that of mixed methods. Mixed methods research, which involves combining

This paper won the James E. McLean outstanding paper award.

N. L. Leech (B)
School of Education, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center,
Campus Box 106, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364, USA
e-mail: [email protected]

A. J. Onwuegbuzie
University of South Florida,
Tampa, USA


266 N.L. Leech, A.J. Onwuegbuzie

quantitative and qualitative approaches, is still in its adolescence, and thus, is still relatively
unknown and confusing to many researchers. Compounding the issue even more is that there
are various mixed methods research designs from which to choose. Thus, the purpose of this
paper is to outline a typology of mixed methods research designs in order to help simplify
their choices when attempting to use quantitative and qualitative approaches within the same
research framework.

There have been numerous waves or phases in research. In many disciplines, the quanti-
tative research paradigm, which incorporates multiple types of quantitative research designs,
was the first and only research design choice (circa the 19th century). The quantitative research
paradigm was considered ‘research’ because it was the first research paradigm that incorpo-
rated ontological, epistemological, axiological, rhetorical, and methodological assumptions
and principles. At the turn of the 20th century, researchers who refuted the quantitative par-
adigm’s assumptions and principles turned to the qualitative research paradigm. Between
1900 and 1950, according to Denzin and Lincoln (2000), was the first historical moment for
qualitative research. It was then, shortly after this period during the 1960s, that the concept
of mixing the two approaches was introduced. Since the 1960s mixed methods research has
become more popular in many disciplines including education (Johnson and Onwuegbu-
zie 2004; Onwuegbuzie and Johnson 2004; Rocco et al. 2003), psychology (Waszak and
Sines 2003), nursing (Morse 1991; Dzurec and Abraham 1993; Sandelowski 2001; Twinn
2003), sociology (Hunter and Brewer 2003), health sciences (Morgan 1998; Forthofer 2003),
management and organizational research (Currall and Towler 2003), library and information
science research (Onwuegbuzie et al. 2004), and program evaluation (Greene et al. 1989;
Rallis and Rossman 2003).

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of mixed methods research studies. Sev-
eral journals now routinely publish mixed methods research (e.g. Field Methods, Educational
Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Quality and Quantity, Evaluation, Evaluation Practice, Re-
search in Nursing and Health, Research in the Schools, The Qualitative Report), and the
list is growing. Most of these published mixed methods studies have been utilized to answer
questions that could not be answered by one paradigm alone. The increase in recognition of
mixed methods is marked by the publication of a mixed methods handbook (Tashakkori and
Teddlie 2003a) and a special issue on mixed methods research recently was published in an
internationally refereed journal (Onwuegbuzie and Daniel 2006).

The mixed method movement is rising so fast that it has prompted John Creswell, a leading
research methodologist and author, to predict that the mixed methods paradigm will be the
leading paradigm within the next five years (John Creswell personal communication April 12,
2004). However, as noted by Teddlie and Tashakkori (2003, p. 3), “the [mixed methods] field
is just entering its ‘adolescence’ and that there are many unresolved issues to address before
a more matured mixed methods research area can emerge”. One of these unresolved issues
relates to research design. Indeed, Teddlie and Tashakkori (2003) identified research design
issues as one of the six unresolved issues and controversies in the use of mixed methods

A major problem with the current state of affairs regarding mixed methods designs is that
there are a plethora of designs in existence. In the Tashakkori and Teddlie (2003a) book alone,
35 mixed methods research designs are presented. This leaves the doctoral student, the begin-
ning researcher, and even the experienced researcher who is new to the field of mixed methods
research with the challenge of selecting optimal mixed methods research designs. Although,
it is not possible for a typology of mixed methods designs to be exhaustive (Teddlie and
Tashakkori 2003) because ‘the actual diversity in mixed methods studies is far greater than
any typology can adequately encompass’ (Maxwell and Loomis 2003, p. 244), in an attempt


A typology of mixed methods research designs 267

to simplify researchers’ design choices, several researchers have developed typologies (e.g.
Greene et al. 1989; Patton 1990; Morse 1991, 2003; Creswell 1994, 2002; Greene and Cara-
celli 1997; Morgan 1998; Tashakkori and Teddlie 1998, 2003b; McMillan and Schumacher
2001; Creswell et al. 2003; Maxwell and Loomis 2003; Onwuegbuzie and Johnson 2004;
Johnson and Onwuegbuzie 2004). Unfortunately, many of these typologies either are (a)
unnecessarily complicated, encompassing a myriad of designs; (b) too simplistic inasmuch
as they do not include the most important criteria needed by mixed methods researchers; or
(c) do not represent a consistent system.

Because of the problems associated with existing typologies, as noted by Tashakkori and
Teddlie (2003b, pp. 680–681), ‘someone needs to create an integrated typology of mixed
methods research designs’. Therefore, the three-dimensional typology of mixed methods
designs that we introduce below represents an attempt to rise to this challenge of creating an
integrated typology of mixed methods designs.

2 Research as a continuum

In general, mixed methods research represents research that involves collecting, analyzing,
and interpreting quantitative and qualitative data in a single study or in a series of studies
that investigate the same underlying phenomenon. Moreover, mixed methods research falls
on a continuum from not mixed (i.e. monomethod designs) to fully mixed methods, with
partially mixed designs occupying regions somewhere between monomethod designs and
fully mixed method designs (Onwuegbuzie and Johnson 2004). Specifically, monomethods,
at one end of the continuum, involve the exclusive use of either quantitative or qualitative
research techniques in a study. Once a study combines quantitative and qualitative techniques
to any degree, the study no longer can be viewed as utilizing a monomethod design. At this
level, the study either is using a fully mixed design or a partially mixed design.

Fully mixed methods designs represent the highest degree of mixing research methods
and research paradigm characteristics. This class of mixed research involves using both qual-
itative and quantitative research within one or more of the following or across the following
four components in a single research study: (a) the research objective (e.g. the researcher
uses research objectives from both quantitative and qualitative research, such as the objective
of both exploration and prediction); (b) type of data and operations; (c) type of analysis; and
(d) type of inference.

When undertaking a mixed methods study, the researcher uses qualitative research meth-
ods for one phase or stage of a research study and quantitative research methods for the other
phase or stage of the research study. Thus, a qualitative and a quantitative research study
are conducted either concurrently or sequentially. The major difference between partially
mixed methods and fully mixed methods is that whereas fully mixed methods involve the
mixing of quantitative and qualitative techniques within one or more stages of the research
process or across these stages, with partially mixed methods, the quantitative and qualitative
phases are not mixed within or across stages. Instead, with partially mixed methods, both
the quantitative and qualitative elements are conducted either concurrently or sequentially in
their entirety before being mixed at the data interpretation stage.

3 Three-dimensional typology of mixed methods designs

A content analysis of the various available mixed research designs has led us to conceptualize
that these designs can be represented as a function of the following three dimensions: (a)


268 N.L. Leech, A.J. Onwuegbuzie

level of mixing (partially mixed versus fully mixed); (b) time orientation (concurrent versus
sequential), and (c) emphasis of approaches (equal status versus dominant status). Level of
mixing refers to whether the mixed research is partially mixed or fully mixed. Despite the fact
that these designs lie on a continuum, they can still be classified as representing either partially
mixed methods or fully mixed methods. Time orientation refers to whether the quantitative
and qualitative phases of the research study occur at approximately the same point in time
(i.e. concurrent) or whether these two components occur one after the other (i.e. sequential).
Finally, emphasis of approach pertains to whether both qualitative and quantitative phases of
the study have approximately equal emphasis (i.e. equal status) with respect to addressing the
research question(s), or whether one component has significantly higher priority than does
the other phase (i.e. dominant status).

The 2 (partially mixed versus fully mixed) X 2 (concurrent versus sequential) X 2 (equal
status versus dominant status) matrix derived by crossing these three dimensions yields
eight types of mixed research designs: (a) partially mixed concurrent equal status designs;
(b) partially mixed concurrent dominant status designs; (c) partially mixed sequential equal
status designs; (d) partially mixed sequential dominant status designs; (e) fully mixed con-
current equal status designs; (f) fully mixed concurrent dominant status designs; (g) fully
mixed sequential equal status designs; and (h) fully mixed sequential dominant status de-
signs. These designs are presented as a typology in Fig. 1. As can be seen from this figure,
the boxes on the last line represent the eight mixed research designs. We believe that most
mixed research studies use designs that can be classified as falling into one of these eight
designs. That is, we believe that this typology is adequately comprehensive. Each of these
eight designs is described below.

3.1 Partially mixed concurrent equal status design: P1

A partially mixed concurrent equal status design involves conducting a study that has two
phases that occur concurrently such that the quantitative and qualitative phases have approx-
imately equal weight. An example of this design is the study conducted by Onwuegbuzie and
DaRos-Voseles (2001). These researchers examined the effectiveness of cooperative learn-
ing (CL) among graduate students enrolled in an introductory-level course in educational
research. The study included a total of 193 participants; 81 students who were enrolled in
course sections wherein CL groups were formed to undertake the major course requirements,
and 112 in sections wherein all assignments were completed individually (IL). The quantita-
tive facet of the study compared the CL and IL groups with respect to individual performance
on midterm and final examinations. The qualitative facet of the inquiry involved students in
both the CL and IL groups writing reflexive journals about their experiences in their respec-
tive research classes. The study of Onwuegbuzie and DaRos-Voseles can be classified as
concurrent partially mixed research because the quantitative and qualitative portions of the
study occurred at approximately the same point in time. That is, data were collected simul-
taneously. Also, the quantitative and qualitative portions of the study were not mixed until
both data types had been collected and analyzed.

3.2 Partially mixed concurrent dominant status design: P2

A partially mixed concurrent dominant status design involves conducting a study with two
facets that occur concurrently, such that either facet has the greater emphasis. The re-
search undertaken by Senne and Rikard (2002) provides an example of this design. These


A typology of mixed methods research designs 269






Concurrent Sequential SequentialConcurrent








































Fig. 1 Typology of mixed research

investigators undertook a comparative analysis of two types of PETE portfolio models (cur-
ricular interventions during the student teacher experience) in order to determine the effect
of these models on student–teacher perceptions of the utility of the teaching portfolio and
their professional growth. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected in this study.
During the quantitative facet of the study, which was given the least weight, the researchers
administered an instrument that measured developmental growth (i.e. principled thinking
and moral judgment reasoning). During the qualitative facet of the study, which took place
concurrently with the quantitative component, the student teachers recorded their 15-week
teaching experiences in weekly reflection logs. Further, the student teachers were asked to
complete an eight-item questionnaire, which was designed for them to assess the portfolio
process, the teacher education program as a whole, and the student teaching experience.
Additionally, this instrument asked the student teachers to describe their achievements and
overall professional growth. The quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed separately
before being compared and inferences made.


270 N.L. Leech, A.J. Onwuegbuzie

3.3 Partially mixed sequential equal status design: P3

A partially mixed sequential equal status design involves conducting a study with two phases
that occur sequentially, with the quantitative and qualitative phases having equal weight. A
compelling example of sequential partial mixed method is Phase I of a comprehensive eval-
uation of the New Hope program. New Hope was a 2-year voluntary anti-poverty program
that occurred in targeted inner-city neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In this program,
residents from these neighborhoods who worked for 30 h a week were given, when appropri-
ate, a wage subsidy, health insurance, and child care benefits. Bos et al. (1999) conducted the
initial quantitative evaluation of the New Hope program. Specifically, a randomized experi-
ment was employed in an attempt to derive causal explanations of targeted program outcomes
including poverty reduction, full-time employment, and child and family mental and physical
well being. Bos et al. collected administrative records and responses to teacher and family
surveys both at baseline and at the end of the 2-year program. The experimental and control
groups were compared with respect to these quantitative data.

At the end of 2 years, the qualitative phase of the study began. Weisner (2000) followed
up the first phase of the study conducted by Bos et al. (1999). This second phase incorporated
an ethnographic study in order to obtain an intricate understanding of the meaningfulness of
the participants’ experiences during the first 2 years of the program (Weisner 2000). Here, a
random sample of 45 families, approximately half from the treatment group and half from
the control group, were interviewed, and their responses compared. As with the previous
examples, the quantitative and qualitative data sets were analyzed separately, and mixing
took place at the data interpretation stage.

3.4 Partially mixed sequential dominant status design: P4

A partially mixed concurrent dominant status design involves conducting a study with two
phases that occur sequentially, such that either the quantitative or qualitative phase has the
greater emphasis. For example, Hayter (1999, p. 984) conducted what he called a ‘two-stage,
mixed method study’ to (a) describe the prevalence and nature of burnout in clinical nurse
specialists in HIV/AIDS care working in community settings; and (b) examine the asso-
ciation between burnout and HIV/AIDS care-related factors among this group. In the first
stage of the study, the quantitative phase, 32 community HIV/AIDS nurse specialists were
administered measures of burnout and the psychological impact of working with people with
HIV/AIDS, as well as a demographic survey. In the second stage, the qualitative phase, five
nurse specialists were randomly sampled for semi-structured interview. In this study, the
quantitative research represented the dominant phase.

3.5 Fully mixed concurrent equal status design: F1

A fully mixed concurrent equal status design involves conducting a study that mixes qualita-
tive and quantitative research within one or more or across the following four components in a
single research study: the research objective, type of data and operations, type of analysis, and
type of inference. In this design, the quantitative and qualitative phases are mixed concurrently
at one or more stages or across the components. Both elements are given approximately equal
weight. An example of this design is the study conducted by Daley and Onwuegbuzie (2004).
The investigators in this study examined male juvenile delinquents’ causal attributions for
others’ violent behavior, and the salient pieces of information they utilize in arriving at these
attributions. A 12-item questionnaire, the Violence Attribution Survey designed by Daley


A typology of mixed methods research designs 271

and Onwuegbuzie, was used to assess attributions made by juveniles for the behavior of
others involved in violent acts. Each item consisted of a vignette, followed by three possible
attributions (i.e. person, stimulus, circumstance) presented using a multiple-choice format
(i.e. quantitative phase), and an open-ended question asking the juveniles their reasons for
choosing the responses that they did (i.e. qualitative phase). Participants included 82 male
juvenile offenders who were drawn randomly from the population of juveniles incarcerated at
correctional facilities in a large southeastern state. By collecting quantitative and qualitative
data via the same instrument, the researchers mixed methods at the research objective stage.
Also, they mixed methods at the data analysis and inference stages, using what they called a
six-stage concurrent mixed-methods analysis, which utilized mixed data-analytic techniques.

3.6 Fully mixed concurrent dominant status design: F2

A fully mixed concurrent dominant status design involves conducting a study that mixes
qualitative and quantitative research within one or more of, or across the aforementioned
three components in a single research study. In this design, the quantitative and qualitative
phases are mixed concurrently at one or more stages or across the stages. However, unlike
the case for the F1 design, either the quantitative or the qualitative phase is given more
weight. Collins’ (2000) study provides an example of a fully mixed concurrent dominant
status design. Specifically, Collins examined the relationship between elementary teachers’
beliefs concerning National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) recommendations,
and the extent to which teachers believe it is feasible to implement these recommendations in
their classrooms. Also studied was the extent to which teacher personal efficacy and outcome
expectancy is influenced by students’ regulatory styles, and the degree to which teachers’
perceptions of the effectiveness and practicality of grouping strategies is influenced by stu-
dents’ self-regulatory styles. The researcher used the Teachers’ Assessment of Mathematics
Instruction (TAMI), an instrument developed for the study, to collect both quantitative and
qualitative data simultaneously. Mixing occurred at the research objective and data analysis
and inference stages of the research process.

3.7 Fully mixed sequential equal status design: F3

A fully mixed sequential equal status design involves conducting a study that mixes quali-
tative and quantitative research within one or more of, or across the stages of the research
process. In this design, the quantitative and qualitative phases occur sequentially at one or
more stages or across the stages. Both elements are given approximately equal weight. An
example of this is Taylor and Tashakkori’s (1997) study, in which teachers were classified
into four groups based on their quantitative responses to measures of (a) efficacy (low versus
high) and (b) locus of causality for student success (i.e. internal versus external). These four
groups then were compared with respect to obtained qualitative data.

3.8 Fully mixed sequential dominant status design: F4

A fully mixed sequential dominant status design involves conducting a study that mixes qual-
itative and quantitative research within one or more of, or across the stages of the research
process. In this design, the quantitative and qualitative phases occur sequentially at one or
more stages or across the stages. It is similar to the F3 design, except either the quanti-
tative or the qualitative phase is given more weight. An example of this is Waysman and


272 N.L. Leech, A.J. Onwuegbuzie

Savaya (1997), who evaluated a nonprofit agency (i.e. SHATIL) that provides organizational
consultation and other support services to nonprofit agencies in Israel. The first phase of
their study involved the use of qualitative techniques (focus groups and interviews) to obtain
information about SHATIL, its clients and their concerns. The second phase, the quantitative
phase, involved use of a questionnaire, whose items were more specific and focused. In the
final phase (a second round of focus groups), involving an additional qualitative phase, the
information elicited was even more specific and focused on one specific issue (i.e. sources of
satisfaction and dissatisfaction). The data collected in each phase were used in the planning
of the following phase, with the qualitative phases carrying the most weight in the study.

4 Notation system for mixed research

Morse (1991) is credited as being the first researcher to develop a notation system for use in
mixed methods research. Since then, several mixed methods researchers have outlined their
own notation systems; however, all these systems represent modifications of Morse’s system.
In Fig. 2, we have displayed a notation system that fits our eight-design framework. Like
those of others, this system is a modification of Morse’s representation. In Fig. 2, capital
letters denote priority, the ‘+’ sign represents a concurrent relationship and the ‘→’ sign
represents a sequential relationship. Using this notation yields 24 combinations between the
qualitative and quantitative facets.

5 Summary and conclusions

Over the last 15 years, a myriad of mixed methods research designs has been conceptual-
ized. Due to the number of designs available, selecting from among these designs often is
a challenging task—thereby necessitating typologies. As noted by Teddlie and Tashakkori
(2003), we believe that such typologies are needed because (a) they assist in providing the
field with a flexible organizational structure, (b) they help to provide more credibility to the
field of education in general and the social and behavioral sciences in particular by providing
examples of research designs that are markedly different than monomethod designs, (c) they
help to advance a common language for the mixed methods field, (d) they provide guidance
and direction for researchers to design their mixed methods studies, and (e) they can be used
to enhance the instruction of mixed methods research courses.

With this in mind, in the current paper, we introduced a typology of mixed methods
research designs. The existing design typologies can be distinguished by criteria that differ-
entiate the research designs they subsume. To date, several criteria have been identified,
including purpose of study (e.g. triangulation versus complementarity versus initiation ver-
sus development versus expansion; Greene et al. 1989), theoretical framework of study
(present versus absent; Greene and Caracelli 1997), time orientation (concurrent versus
sequential; Morgan 1998), emphasis of approaches (equal status versus dominant status;
Morgan 1998; Onwuegbuzie and Johnson 2004), and stage of integration (Tashakkori and
Teddlie 1998). However, we believe that the following three criteria most distinguish mixed
methods designs: level of mixing, time orientation, and emphasis of approaches. Crossing
these three criteria led to eight mixed methods designs. We recognize that this typology is
not exhaustive. However, we believe that most mixed methods studies can be represented by
one of these eight designs.


A typology of mixed methods research designs 273











Quan +


qual +


+ qual


+ Quan






Quan →

Qual →


→ Qual


→ Quan






Quan +


qual +


+ qual


+ Quan







qual →


→ Qual


→ Quan





























Fig. 2 Notational system for mixed methods designs

Conveniently, the present typology can incorporate other typologies. For example, the level
of mixing dimension (i.e. partially mixed versus. fully mixed) subsumes Tashakkori and Tedd-
lie’s (1998) mixed model versus mixed methods dimension. Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998)
define mixed models designs as representing studies that combine quantitative and qualitative
approaches within different stages of the research process. Mixed methods designs are those
that integrate quantitative and qualitative approaches in a single study or a multi-phased
study, comprising the following five specific designs: sequential studies, parallel/simulta-
neous studies, equivalent status designs, dominant-less dominant designs, and designs with
multilevel use of approaches wherein researchers utilize different techniques at different
levels of data aggregation (see also Creswell 1994). Interestingly, sequential studies and
parallel/simultaneous studies are subsumed by the time orientation dimension of our model;
equivalent status designs and dominant-less dominant designs are subsumed by emphasis of
approaches dimension; finally, designs with multilevel use of approaches also are subsumed
by the level of mixing dimension. Other typologies similarly can be incorporated into our


274 N.L. Leech, A.J. …

Psychology Science Quarterly, Volume 50, 2008 (4), pp. 451-468

Adapting a cognitive test for a different culture:
An illustration of qualitative procedures


We describe and apply a judgmental (qualitative) procedure for cognitive test adaptations. The pro-

cedure consists of iterations of translating, piloting, and modifying the instrument. We distinguish five
types of adaptations for cognitive instruments, based on the underlying source (construct, language,
culture, theory, and familiarity, respectively). The proposed procedure is applied to adapt the Kaufman
Assessment Battery for Children, second edition (KABC-II) for 6 to 10 year-old Kannada-speaking
children of low socioeconomic status in Bangalore, India. Each subtest needed extensive adaptations,
illustrating that the transfer of Western cognitive instruments to a non-Westernized context requires a
careful analysis of their appropriateness. Adaptations of test instructions, item content of both verbal
and non-verbal tests, and item order were needed. It is concluded that the qualitative approach adopted
here was found adequate to identify various problems with the application of the KABC-II in our sam-
ple which would have remained unnoticed with a straightforward translation of the original instrument.

Key words: Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, Cognitive Test, Adaptation, Bias, Culture

1 Maike Malda, Department of Psychology, Tilburg University, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Nether-
lands; email: [email protected]
2 Tilburg University, the Netherlands and North-West University, South Africa
3 St. John’s Research Institute, India
4 Unilever Food and Health Research Institute, the Netherlands

M. Malda, F. J. R. van de Vijver, K. Srinivasan, C. Transler,
P. Sukumar & K. Rao


…You cannot take a person who for years has been hobbled by chains, bring him up to
the starting line of a race and say – you are free to compete with us – and truly believe
that you are treating him fairly.
Lyndon Johnson (as cited in De Beer, 2000, p. 1)

Varying definitions of fairness have been proposed; fairness can be seen as a lack of bias,

as equitable treatment in a testing procedure, as equality in outcomes of testing, or as equal-
ity in opportunities to learn (American Educational Research Association, American Psycho-
logical Association, & National Council on Measurement of Education, 1999). The quote by
Lyndon Johnson refers to the last definition, whereas we mainly focus on the first. Like it is
unfair to run a race against a person hobbled by chains, it is unfair to assess intelligence of
children from rural Africa with a test that has been validated in a Western culture (usually in
the U.S. or Western Europe), with a population of children exposed to very different educa-
tional and material environments at home and school. Many children in developing and
emerging countries live in multiple-risk environments and show suboptimal (physical, cogni-
tive, and social-emotional) developmental outcomes, due to poor nutrition, housing, and
hygiene, low socioeconomic status, crowded homes and classrooms, and few learning mate-
rials and opportunities (McLoyd, 1998; Walker et al., 2007). Cognitive tests of Western
origin may be inadequate to assess these children; the cross-cultural suitability of these tests
cannot be assumed, is often questionable, and is infrequently studied (Misra, Sahoo, & Pu-
han, 1997). Since cognitive test scores are known to predict school performance of children
(also in non-Westernized countries), it is important for them to be (culturally) appropriate.
We propose and illustrate a systematic approach for adapting cognitive instruments to in-
crease their cultural suitability for the target context.

Children in non-Westernized countries might be unfamiliar with testing procedures and
materials, which is in sharp contrast with the relatively high level of testwiseness of Western
children. For example, working with figures and puzzles may be a novel experience for
children in a non-Westernized setting, whereas many Western children are exposed to these
tasks from a preschool level. Making puzzles or comparable tasks can positively contribute
to one’s visual processing ability. Demetriou et al. (2005) found that Chinese children out-
performed Greek children on tasks involving visuo-spatial processing, which the authors
attributed to the massive visuo-spatial practice received in learning to write Chinese.

The use of an unsuitable instrument can lead to a biased (unfair) assessment of cognitive
performance; therefore, two types of procedures have been described to reduce this bias: a
priori procedures (also called judgmental procedures) and a posteriori procedures (statistical
procedures). A priori procedures are applied before the instrument is administered; we refer
here to all those procedures that use judgmental evidence to examine the cultural suitability
of translations and adaptations of instruments, such as quality checks of translations, exami-
nations of the adequacy of pictorial stimuli, and pilot studies to determine whether test in-
structions and items are interpreted as intended. A posteriori procedures are applied to the
data obtained with the instrument; these involve the use of statistical methods to identify and
reduce the bias in collected data (Van de Vijver & Leung, 1997). A posteriori procedures are
widely used to examine differential item functioning and structural equivalence (see Ellis,
1989; Sireci & Allalouf, 2003; Sireci, Yang, Harter, & Ehrlich, 2006). We describe and
apply a priori procedures in this article because their impact can be easily underrated. A

Adapting a cognitive test for a different culture 453

priori procedures are very relevant; problems of poor test adaptations cannot be overcome by
statistical (post hoc) analyses, whatever their sophistication.

Many guidelines for test adaptations have been proposed (American Educational Re-
search Association et al., 1999; Hambleton, 2001, 2005); yet, there is no agreement about
minimum standards or best practices and very few applications have been published (e.g.,
Abubakar et al., 2007; Holding et al., 2004). Whereas these applications are mainly de-
scribed from a procedural point of view, we conceptualize our approach by applying a sys-
tematic procedure for adapting cognitive instruments within a framework of adaptation
types. We illustrate this approach by describing the adaptation process of the Kaufman As-
sessment Battery for Children, second edition (KABC-II) for use among 6 to 10 year-old
Kannada-speaking children of low socioeconomic status in Bangalore, India. Our aim was to
develop a measure of children’s cognitive performance that is suitable for this particular
context and to learn lessons from this adaptation procedure that could generalize to other
settings and cognitive test batteries, such as the Wechsler scales (Wechsler, 1949, 1974,
1991, 1997, 2004) or the newly developed Adaptive Intelligence Diagnosticum (Kubinger,
2004; Kubinger, Litzenberger, & Mrakotsky, 2007; Kubinger & Wurst, 2000).

Test adaptation procedure

The adaptation procedure that is proposed and illustrated here has two core elements.

The first refers to how the procedure is conducted. Our procedure consists of an iterative
process of implementing modifications to an instrument and using judgmental evidence to
examine the adequacy of the modifications. This procedure is in line with what is called
“cognitive pretesting” or “cognitive interviewing” (DeMaio & Rothgeb, 1996; Willis, 2005),
which refers to a method to evaluate whether the target audience properly understands, proc-
esses, and responds to the test items. Cognitive pretesting uses think-aloud and verbal prob-
ing procedures, and has been mainly applied to evaluate surveys; yet, it can be used to test
any type of test material. A criterion for the success of a judgmental procedure such as cog-
nitive pretesting is that all items of the battery are interpreted as intended. The second core
element of our procedure refers to which types of adaptation are involved; a taxonomy of
adaptation types is proposed here that can be used in any adaptation procedure. Before pre-
senting the taxonomy we describe the various kinds of bias that may need to be accounted
for in test adaptations.

Bias in testing

In cross-cultural research, bias is a generic term for all kinds of factors that threaten the

validity of intergroup comparisons (Van de Vijver & Hambleton, 1996). Bias is a conse-
quence of a test’s cultural loading, which refers to the extent to which the test implicitly or
explicitly refers to a particular cultural context. There are three main types of bias: construct
bias, method bias, and item bias (for a detailed description see Van de Vijver & Poortinga,
2005, and Van de Vijver & Tanzer, 2004). An instrument that shows construct bias in a
cross-cultural comparison does not measure the same psychological concept across cultures.
We did not focus on construct bias in our adaptation because we focus here on intelligence in

M. Malda, F. J. R. van de Vijver, K. Srinivasan, C. Transler,
P. Sukumar & K. Rao


a school context and the underlying structures of many cognitive test batteries presumably
are universally applicable (Berry, Poortinga, Segall, & Dasen, 2002; Georgas, Weiss, Van de
Vijver, & Saklofske, 2003; Irvine, 1979; Van de Vijver, 1997). Method bias refers to sources
of bias that arise from methodological aspects of a study, such as instrument bias and ad-
ministration bias. Item bias (differential item functioning) refers to item-specific problems in
cross-cultural comparisons, such as item ambiguity due to poor item translations or culture-
specific elements (e.g., an item about a vacuum cleaner is biased against cultures in which
this appliance is uncommon). The described forms of bias can be remedied by adaptation.

Adaptation, adoption, and assembly

Adaptation is a way to maximize the cultural appropriateness of an instrument and

thereby to minimize bias. Adaptation has become the generic term for any procedure in
which an instrument that is developed for one cultural group is transferred for usage in an-
other cultural group. The term has replaced the traditional concept of translation, because of
the growing appreciation that transferring a test to a new cultural and linguistic context in-
volves more than merely translating an instrument (producing a linguistically equivalent
version in another language).

The term adaptation is also used in a more specific sense. Three terms have been pro-
posed to describe the transformations that may be needed to transfer an instrument to another
culture: adoption (or application), adaptation, and assembly (Hambleton & Patsula, 1998,
1999; Van de Vijver, 2003; Van de Vijver & Poortinga, 2005). Adoption of an instrument
comes down to a close translation into the target language, and can be used if the purpose of
a study is to compare scores across cultures directly (Van de Vijver, 2003). Assembly in-
volves the construction of an entirely new instrument, and is usually applied when the trans-
lation of an existing instrument would yield an entirely inappropriate measure in the target
culture or when the study concerns a new research topic for which no suitable instrument is
available yet (Harkness, Van de Vijver, & Johnson, 2003). Adaptation has features of both
adoption and assembly; it amounts to a combination of close translation of the parts of the
instrument that are assumed to be adequate in the target culture, such as test instructions and
items, and a change of other parts when a close translation would be inadequate for linguis-
tic, cultural, or psychometric reasons (Hambleton & De Jong, 2003; Harkness, Mohler, &
Van de Vijver, 2003).

The two different usages of the term adaptation (broad and specific) are fairly compatible
if we do not see adoption, adaptation, and assembly as three entirely different kinds of pro-
cedures, but as labels on a continuum that ranges from a close translation of all instrument
features (adoption) to a complete change of these features (assembly). Adaptation can then
be seen as a term for all transfers that do not belong to the extremes of the continuum. In this
interpretation, adaptation covers a wide range of changes to tests (which may explain the
popularity of adaptation in the current literature) and is the main method of transfer in our
current qualitative evaluation of test appropriateness.

Adapting a cognitive test for a different culture 455

Types of adaptation

Adaptations can amount to various types of changes (Harkness, Van de Vijver et al.,

2003; Van de Vijver, 2006). We propose a framework of types of adaptation which can help
us to systematize the adaptation process and the choices made in this process. In our view,
five types can be distinguished that are relevant in the context of adapting cognitive tests.
Construct-driven adaptations are related to differences in definitions of psychological con-
cepts across cultures (e.g., when the aim is to measure “intelligence”, the test should be
adapted according to the target culture’s definition of intelligence). Language-driven adapta-
tions result from the unavailability of semantically equivalent words across languages (e.g.,
there is no Dutch equivalent for the English word “distress”) or from structural differences
between languages (e.g., words or grammatical structures automatically refer to gender in
some languages, which makes it difficult to avoid gender-specific references. For example,
the English word “friend” can indicate both a male and a female person, whereas the German
word “Freund” refers to a male friend and “Freundin” to a female friend). Culture-driven
adaptations result from different cultural norms, values, communication styles, customs, or
practices (e.g., an item about the celebration of birthdays should take into account that cul-
tures differ considerably in practices and cultural relevance of birthdays). Theory-driven
adaptations involve changes that are required because of theoretical reasons (e.g., digit span
items should ideally have digit names that are all of similar length. Similarity in digit length
may be lost when the items are translated into another language). The last type are familiar-
ity/recognizability-driven adaptations which are based on differential familiarity with task or
item characteristics (e.g., a prototypical drawing of a house in one culture is not necessarily
recognized as such in another culture) or stimulus materials (e.g., in some cultures children
might not be used to manipulate geometric shapes). Different types of adaptations are appli-
cable to different types of tests. We consider these five types of adaptations sufficient to
describe the changes that are required in making cognitive instruments suitable for new
cultural contexts. The framework introduced here is used to indicate which adaptations we
have used to improve the cultural suitability of the KABC-II for our Indian sample and to
place our findings into the broader perspective of adapting cognitive tests in general.

Adapting the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, second edition

The KABC-II (a revised and re-standardized second edition of the K-ABC) is an indi-

vidually administered measure of cognitive ability that can be used for children from 3 to 18
years of age (Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004) and measures short-term memory, visual process-
ing, long-term storage and retrieval, fluid reasoning, and crystallized abilities. The test com-
bines three characteristics that make it promising for research and applications in non-
Westernized countries: (1) the KABC-II is based on a theoretical model (the Cattell-Horn-
Carroll model of broad and narrow abilities; Carroll, 1993; McGrew, 2005) that is assumed
to have a universal validity; (2) the test has been designed to minimize the influence of lan-
guage and cultural knowledge on test results; (3) the test contains teaching items, that ensure
understanding of the task demands.

The present study is relevant in providing information about the (in)appropriateness of
the KABC-II among Kannada speaking children in Bangalore. Furthermore, the relevance of

M. Malda, F. J. R. van de Vijver, K. Srinivasan, C. Transler,
P. Sukumar & K. Rao


our qualitative adaptation procedure goes beyond the immediate context of the present in-
strument and cultural context for two reasons. Firstly, the instrument shows generalizability
to other, widely used cognitive batteries regarding instruction, item, and response formats.
Secondly, the adaptation deals with large cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic differences
between the original Western (American) context and the non-Westernized target (Indian)
context. The larger these differences, the more salient the (possible) bias, providing good
conditions for a critical test of why and for which test aspects adaptations are required. Many
other cross-cultural studies on the application of cognitive tests (such as the WISC-III by
Georgas et al., 2003) do not include samples that differ substantially from the original test
sample in cultural or educational background.



Our adaptation is part of a larger study among children of low socioeconomic status in

Bangalore (state of Karnataka, South India). Fifty seven Kannada-speaking children took
part in the adaptation process (31 boys and 26 girls), they were between 6 and 10 years old
(M = 8.08) and from grades one to five from five primary schools. The number of children
participating in our adaptation could not be determined nor accurately estimated beforehand,
because in each step of the iterative procedure of translating, piloting (i.e., cognitive pre-
testing) and modifying that we employed, a new (small) sample of children was involved and
for each individual subtest the iterations continued until the adaptations were deemed satis-
factory (see Procedure). As a consequence, the number of children involved in the pilot
testing differed across the subtests.


Information about the children’s direct living environment, needed for an adequate adap-

tation, was collected by visiting homes and schools and interviewing parents and teachers.
We wanted to learn what type of cognitive stimulation was provided to the children by their
environment. There were very few or no toys to play with and usually no other learning
materials than school books were present in the homes. Most families owned a television.
Children either played outside in the streets or watched television when not doing chores.
Interviews with teachers revealed that rote learning is a commonly applied teaching tech-
nique. This technique is well applicable with large numbers of children and with a collecti-
vistic style of teaching, where children are hardly addressed individually.


In line with practices recommended in the literature on adaptation guidelines (e.g., Geis-

inger, 1994; Hambleton, 2005; Hambleton & Patsula, 1999), we employed an iterative pro-
cedure of translating, piloting, and modifying instructions, examples and items if needed.

Adapting a cognitive test for a different culture 457

The adaptation process took eight months from developing the initial ideas to completing the
final test battery.

A team of four psychologists (all fluent in both Kannada and English, and with a Mas-
ter’s degree in Psychology, specialized in Child Psychology) translated the test instructions
and items of the KABC-II from (American) English into Kannada. We instructed the team to
try to avoid poor readability and lack of naturalness, which are well known problems of
close translations (Harkness, 2003; Stansfield, 2003). The translation was independently
back translated by a psychologist. The translated version was fine-tuned during the pilot test
through iterations of modifying translations, administering these modifications to other chil-
dren of the pilot sample, and implementing further modifications, if needed. Some subtests
required more extensive piloting than others and each new subtest version was administered
in a new round of piloting to a different set of children so as to avoid learning effects from
previous test versions. The iterative process was continued until the subtest version was
found to be adequate (i.e., the children showed understanding of the instructions and con-
cepts by performing well on at least the first few items). The adapted instruments are de-
scribed in more detail in the Results section.

The test administration in our pilot test was done in a non-standard way (Van de Vijver
& Tanzer, 2004) in order to evaluate the appropriateness of the test materials and test proce-
dure. In this non-standard way, the focus is not primarily on the child’s responses to test
items, but on identifying the processes behind these responses. One test examiner (a trained
psychologist) administered KABC-II subtests to all children in the pilot. A supervising psy-
chologist (first author) observed each of these test administrations. The examiner asked the
child to repeat the instructions when there was any doubt about whether a child had under-
stood the instructions of a particular subtest. The child was asked to explain his/her answer if
an answer had to be selected from various options. Both the supervisor and the test examiner
evaluated the child’s ability to work with the test materials and the response formats. This
supervisor also assessed the skills of the test examiner to administer the various adapted
subtests. The extensive practice ensured that the examiner administered the items in an ap-
propriate way, as described by Kaufman and Kaufman (2004) so that administration bias
could be minimized.


We focused on eight of the core subtests of the KABC-II for 7-12 year-old children. The

Results section is divided in three parts. The subtests that required a theory-driven adaptation
are presented first (Number Recall and Atlantis), followed by the subtests that required a
familiarity/recognizability-driven adaptation (Triangles, Rover, Pattern Reasoning, and Story
Completion), and finally the subtests that required both types of adaptation (Word Order and
Rebus). Each subtest is first described (Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004), followed by an over-
view of the main modifications. Only those aspects of the adaptation process are described
here that we expect to be relevant for adaptations of other cognitive tests.

M. Malda, F. J. R. van de Vijver, K. Srinivasan, C. Transler,
P. Sukumar & K. Rao


Theory-driven adaptations

Number Recall (short-term memory). In this task, the child is asked to repeat a series of

monosyllabic digits (1 to 9, excluding 7) in the same sequence as presented by the examiner,
with series ranging in length from two to nine digits. Number Recall is comparable to Digit
Span (forward) from the Wechsler scales and to many other short-term memory tests in
various cognitive test batteries, such as Immediately Reproducing from the AID 2 (Kubinger
& Wurst, 2000). According to Baddeley’s phonological loop model (Baddeley, Thomson, &
Buchanan, 1975; Cowan, Baddeley, Elliott, & Norris, 2003), the number of items that can be
stored in memory varies with their phonological length (such as the number of syllables).
The shorter the items, the more items can be recalled. It follows from the model that Number
Recall will be more sensitive to differences in memory capacity when shorter digits are used
and that it is important to maintain a constant phonological digit length.

All digits in Kannada from 1 to 9 are bisyllabic, except 2 and 9, which have three sylla-
bles. We decided to rely as much as possible on the bisyllabic digits in the Kannada version.
The three-syllabic digits (2 and 9) were only introduced late in the test, in series of eight and
nine digits.

Atlantis (long-term storage and retrieval). The examiner teaches the child nonsense
names (here defined as pseudo-words that have a common phonological structure) for fanci-
ful pictures of fish, plants, and shells. The child has to point to the corresponding picture in
an array of pictures when it is named. The test measures the ability to memorize new phono-
logical information without the support of the meaning or context of the words. A compara-
ble task is Memory for Names from the Woodcock-Johnson III tests of cognitive ability
(Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001). For the use of nonsense syllables, see also the AID
2 (Kubinger & Wurst, 2000).

The first group of Kannada children (who are not familiar with the English language)
found it difficult to make distinctions between the English nonsense names. Therefore, we
replaced the English nonsense names by Kannada nonsense names. The sounds of the chosen
names were sufficiently distinct for the children to easily distinguish between the words. As
in the original version, one-, two-, and three-syllable names were chosen for fish, plants, and
shells, respectively.

Familiarity/recognizability-driven adaptations

Triangles (visual processing). The child assembles several identical foam triangles (blue

on one side and yellow on the other) to match a target picture of an abstract design. For
easier items, the child assembles a set of colorful plastic shapes to match a model constructed
by the examiner or shown in the test booklet. The test is based on Koh’s (1927) Block-
Design Test and shows similarities with subtests such as Block Design from the Wechsler
scales, Pattern Construction from the Differential Ability Scales (Elliott, 1990), and Analyz-
ing and Synthesizing from the AID 2 (Kubinger & Wurst, 2000).

Subsequent items of Triangles should increase in difficulty, as is the case for all KABC-
II subtests and for most subtests of other cognitive test batteries. It became clear during the
pilot test that compliance with this rule required changes in the order and nature of some
items. The original sample item of the foam triangles involves constructing a larger triangle

Adapting a cognitive test for a different culture 459

with two smaller ones. This item appeared to be too difficult for a sample item. Furthermore,
the children in the pilot test could solve items relatively well when the triangles in the target
figure showed left-right symmetry, but items without this left-right symmetry were much
more difficult for them. This could be the result of their lack of experience with making
puzzles. We decided to include three items with one triangle in the adapted test so that chil-
dren could explore the possibilities of manipulating a single triangle before they had to man-
age two or more. We also added one easier two-triangle item and slightly changed the item
order to ensure an increasing level of difficulty for the Kannada children.

The original test manual indicates that for most items any rotation of the final (total) con-
figuration should be scored as correct. The pilot test showed that children sometimes pro-
duced solutions with a large rotation relative to the target figure, which would have to be
scored as correct. However, when the children were asked to explain their solution, they did
not show full understanding of the item. To avoid this problem, we decided that only solu-
tions with a rotation of 45 degrees or less in either direction from the displayed model would
be scored as correct.

Part of the Triangles test is timed. Because the local schools do not train their children in
managing their time and performing quickly while doing exercises or tests, we decided to
apply a more liberal time limit: the original time limits were relaxed by 15 seconds. No extra
points were given for quick responses, having only 0 (incorrect) and 1 (correct) as possible

Rover (visual processing). The child has to move a dog toy (called Rover) to a bone on a
checkerboard-like grid that contains obstacles (rocks and weeds) by making as few moves as
possible. Rover is based on several non-verbal problem-solving tasks, such as the Tower of
Hanoi (Cook, 1937).

When the original Rover dog was used to make the moves, the children tended to start
the path to the bone in the direction the dog was facing. To prevent this, we needed an object
that is similar on all sides so that it does not implicitly suggest a direction to the child. We
replaced the original dog by a pawn, which turned out to be well accepted by the children.

Not all children in the pilot test understood which moves Rover was allowed to make. To
overcome this problem, we adapted one sample item and changed two regular test items into
sample items to ensure that the child understood the principles of the test completely (e.g.,
regarding diagonal moves and regarding some obstacles drawn on the grid, like a rock).
Three test items were added to give the child the opportunity to show that the principle of the …

The Afghan Symptom Checklist: A Culturally Grounded Approach to
Mental Health Assessment in a Conflict Zone

Kenneth E. Miller, PhD
Pomona College

Patricia Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy,
Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed Nader Nasiry,

Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS,
and Abdul Aziz Yaqubi

AFSC Quaker Service

This article describes a methodology for developing culturally grounded assessment measures in conflict and
postconflict situations. A mixed-method design was used in Kabul, Afghanistan, to identify local indicators of
distress and develop the 22-item Afghan Symptom Checklist (ASCL). The ASCL contains several indigenous
items and items familiar to Western mental health professionals. The ASCL was pilot tested and subsequently
administered to 324 adults in 8 districts of Kabul. It demonstrated excellent reliability (� � .93) and good
construct validity, correlating strongly with a measure of exposure to war-related violence and loss (r � .70).
Results of the survey indicate moderate levels of distress among Afghan men and markedly higher levels of
distress and impaired functioning among women (and widows in particular).

Keywords: PTSD, assessment, Afghanistan, war, culture

There is a growing recognition of the value of incorporating
culturally specific idioms of distress into assessments of mental
health when working in conflict and postconflict situations (de
Jong, 2002; van de Put & Eisenbruch, 2004; Wessells & Monteiro,
2004). The great majority of the world’s violent political conflicts
during the past 50 years have taken place in non-Western societies,
with cosmologies quite distinct from those found in Western
industrialized nations (Englund, 1998; Miller, Kulkarni, & Kush-
ner, 2006). A strict reliance on the language and constructs of
Western psychiatry risks inappropriately prioritizing psychiatric
syndromes that are familiar to Western practitioners, such as
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but that may be of secondary
concern or simply lack meaning to non-Western populations for
whom local idioms of distress are more salient.

Kleinman (1987) has cautioned against what he termed the
category fallacy, which entails the erroneous assumption that a
diagnostic construct developed in one cultural context is meaning-
ful in a different cultural context simply because the symptoms
that constitute it can be identified in both settings. A consideration
of the category fallacy suggests two essential and overlapping lines
of research: The first entails studying the cross-cultural validity of
Western diagnostic constructs, and the second involves the iden-
tification of culturally specific ways in which psychological dis-

tress is expressed and understood. From a clinical perspective, the
latter focus is especially important: the development of effective
psychological interventions requires an understanding of the ways
in which people in particular cultures experience and articulate the
ways they have been affected by adverse life events (de Jong,
2002; Summerfield, 1999).

Researchers interested in developing culturally grounded assess-
ment measures will find little by way of guidance in the existing
literature on the mental health effects of organized violence. In a
recent methodological review of the refugee mental health litera-
ture, Hollifield et al. (2002) found that, of 183 studies examining
refugee mental health, 141 (78%) relied exclusively on measures
of psychopathology developed in research with Western popula-
tions; moreover, half of the studies reviewed provided no infor-
mation regarding the psychometric properties of their measures in
the specific population studied (i.e., any psychometrics reported
were based on the instruments’ use in previous research either with
Western nonrefugee populations, or with refugees of different
ethnic and national backgrounds than those of the target population).
This reliance on Western psychiatric instruments and the failure to
appropriately standardize or adapt existing measures for use with
specific refugee populations reflect an essentialist belief within the
Western mental health professions that core symptoms of psychopa-
thology and their underlying causal mechanisms are essentially cul-
turally invariant (Bracken, Giller, & Summerfield, 1995; Miller et al.,
2006). Once we presume the cross-cultural salience of Western diag-
nostic constructs, there is little apparent need to examine cultural
variations in the nature of psychological distress and the diverse ways
in which it may be expressed and understood.

A Constructivist Alternative to Psychiatric Essentialism

In contrast to the essentialism of contemporary Western psychi-
atry and clinical psychology, a social constructivist perspective
draws our attention to research documenting the profound influ-

Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology Department, Pomona College; Patricia
Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy, Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed
Nader Nasiry, Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS, and Abdul
Aziz Yagubi, AFSC Quaker Service.

This project was supported by grants from the College of Behavioral and
Social Sciences at San Francisco State University and the Society for the
Psychological Study of Social Issues and by material support from the

For reprints and correspondence: Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology
Department, Pomona College, 550 Harvard Avenue, Claremont, CA
91711. E-mail: [email protected]

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry Copyright 2006 by the American Psychological Association
2006, Vol. 76, No. 4, 423–433 0002-9432/06/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/0002-9432.76.4.423





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ence that cultural contexts have on the experience and expression
of emotional distress (Kleinman, 1987). A constructivist frame-
work does not negate the possibility of common responses to
stressful life events; however, it does caution against assuming that
psychiatric constructs identified in one culture are similarly mean-
ingful in other cultural contexts. For example, symptoms of PTSD
have been identified in numerous studies of non-Western, war-
affected populations; however, anthropological research with
many of these same populations suggests that idioms of distress
other than PTSD are more salient in people’s experience of war-
related distress. Such idioms include susto, nervios, and calor
among survivors of political repression and civil war in Central
America (Farias, 1991; Jenkins, 1996), “thinking too much” and
“Cambodian sickness” among survivors the Cambodian genocide
(van de Put & Eisenbruch, 2004), and spirit possession among
displaced Mozambicans (Englund, 1998).

Familiarity with culturally specific idioms of distress allows
practitioners to communicate effectively with distressed commu-
nity members and to develop mental health interventions that are
likely to be perceived as responsive to local beliefs and values. In
contrast, mental health programs that exclusively target culturally
unfamiliar syndromes are more likely to be seen as alienating and
imposed (Summerfield, 1999).

This article describes an easily implemented methodology for
learning about the ways that psychological well-being and distress
are understood and expressed in specific cultural settings. Adapted
from similar methodologies that have been utilized in Rwanda and
Uganda (Bolton & Tang, 2002), as well as Guinea (Hubbard &
Pearson, 2004), it offers an accessible and efficient approach to
creating culturally meaningful mental health assessment measures
for use in conflict and postconflict situations, where information
must be gathered quickly and with relative ease by program staff,
many of whom may not have mental health backgrounds. Working
in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, we used a multimethod
approach that integrated qualitative and quantitative research
methods to identify key dimensions of mental health and salient
indicators of psychological well-being and distress. These indica-
tors were used to develop a 22-item instrument, the Afghan Symp-
tom Checklist (ASCL), a brief assessment tool designed for effi-
cient and culturally grounded needs assessment and program
evaluation. The development of the ASCL is described, and its
psychometric properties are reported. We also describe briefly the
results of the mental health survey that we conducted in Kabul
using the ASCL.

Political Violence and Displacement in Afghanistan

Afghans have endured more than 20 of war and political repres-
sion: 10 years of jihad, or “holy war,” against the Soviets, in which
nearly 1 million Afghans were killed and a far greater number
displaced from their homes and communities; 4 years of civil war
among warlords competing for control of the country; and the
ensuing rule of the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist group that
brought some degree of order to the country but also imposed
severe restrictions on all aspects of daily life (Goodson, 2001;
Kakar, 1995; Rashid, 2000).

It was during the civil war, between 1992 and 1996, that Kabul
experienced an extraordinary degree of destruction and loss of life.
Before the civil war, Kabul had been spared the devastating
violence that enveloped the countryside during the jihad. After the

Soviet withdrawal, however, competing warlords, former com-
manders in the jihad against the Soviets, turned their sights on
gaining control of the country and, in particular, the capital city of
Kabul. From bases atop the mountains that surround the city, they
rained down thousands of rockets on the civilian population below.
Entire neighborhoods were reduced to rubble, tens of thousands of
people were killed or severely injured, and many fled for the
relative safety of refugee camps in Pakistan or areas of lesser
conflict within Afghanistan.

The conquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban, who took control
of Kabul in 1996, was initially welcomed by most Afghans. A
fundamentalist Islamic group with roots in the largely Pashtun
province of Qandahar, the Taliban promised an end to the destruc-
tive violence and widespread lawlessness brought on by the jihad
and the civil war. Widespread relief over the end of the fighting
was short-lived, however, and was quickly replaced by horror at
the repressive interpretation of Islamic law imposed by the Tali-
ban. For women and girls, Taliban laws were particularly oppres-
sive: Access to health care and education for females was dramat-
ically curtailed, and women were not allowed to be outside the
home without male accompaniment—a particularly devastating
law for widows who had no source of income and no male relative
to accompany them in search of work or material assistance. For
both men and women, violations of Taliban laws were met with
imprisonment, torture, and in many instances, execution (Physi-
cians for Human Rights, 1998; Rashid, 2000).

The overthrow of the Taliban in November 2001 created a
window of opportunity to address the mental health needs of
Afghans affected by more than 2 decades of war and oppression.
The country remains a conflict zone, however. Much of Afghan-
istan is still controlled by warlords, the Taliban and Al Qaeda
remain active in the country’s southern and eastern provinces, and
terrorist attacks continue both within and outside of the capital.

Despite these conditions, however, numerous nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) are developing mental health projects in
Afghanistan, and researchers have begun to document the mental
health of war-related violence and other stressors on Afghans
(Lopes Cardozo et al., 2004; Scholte et al., 2004). To date, how-
ever, research and intervention efforts have been guided primarily
by a Western conceptualization of mental health. There are no
assessment measures that include indigenous Afghan idioms of
distress and no empirically based framework for understanding
how Afghans understand and articulate psychological well-being
and suffering. The present study was designed both to address this
empirical gap and to field test a methodology for developing
culturally grounded assessment measures for use in conflict and
postconflict situations.


The Research Team

The research was designed and carried out through a collaborative effort
between Kenneth E. Miller—a psychology professor based in the United
States, the staff of the AFSC Quaker Service in Kabul, and a team of local
community members who have worked with the director of AFSC on
several previous research projects. AFSC has been active in Afghanistan
since shortly after the fall of the Taliban and is focused on educational and
mental health activities developed in collaboration with local communities
in various parts of the country. The director of AFSC (Patricia Omidian) is
an American medical anthropologist who has worked extensively with





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Afghans both within Afghanistan and in living as refugees in Pakistan and
the United States. All other AFSC staff are Afghans, as are the other
members of the research team, with educational backgrounds ranging from
high school to advanced graduate education. Research team members live
in several of the neighborhoods in which data were gathered, and most
were in Kabul throughout the civil war. Both of the female surveyors lost
their husbands during the war, and one of the men was imprisoned by the
Taliban when he was caught with a beard shorter than the proscribed

Step 1: Eliciting Narratives and Identifying Indicators of
Well-Being and Distress

The first task in the development of a culturally grounded measure of
mental health is to identify locally meaningful indicators of well-being and
distress. To accomplish this, we used a convenience sample of 20 com-
munity members, 10 women and 10 men, in two districts of Kabul. Women
were approached in their homes by the 2 Afghan female interviewers, and
men, who are rarely at home during the day, were approached in mosques,
in shops, and on the street by the 2 male interviewers. Each person
interviewed was asked to think of two people they knew, both of whom had
suffered emotionally because of difficult life experiences. One person
should be someone who had recovered and was now functioning well
despite the hardships he or she had endured; the other person should be
someone who continued to suffer despite the passing of time. Participants
were then asked to tell each person’s story in detail (i.e., what difficult life
events they had experienced, how they had been affected). They were also
asked to describe specific indicators that reflected each person’s suffering
or, conversely, their recovery and well-being. Finally, participants were
asked why they believed the healthier person had recovered (i.e., was no
longer suffering) and why the distressed person was still experiencing

An equal number of women and men were interviewed over the course
of 5 days, and a total of 40 narratives were collected: 10 women and 10
men who were doing well, and 10 women and 10 men who were still
suffering. The narratives focused equally on participants’ relatives and
neighbors. Because Afghans are generally wary of being tape recorded, the
interviewers took handwritten notes during the interviews. The process of
content analysis was conducted in a fairly informal manner, given our time
constraints and the sudden illness of our transcriptionist. Categories of
distress, as well as common indicators of distress, were identified by
reading through handwritten notes, noting the frequency with which dif-
ferent indicators of distress were mentioned, sharing our impressions in
group discussions, and eventually reaching group consensus. Although this
approach lacks the rigor of formal coding, assessment of interrater reli-
ability, and formal thematic analysis (e.g., Denzin & Lincoln, 2000), we
believe it closely approximates the approach to qualitative data analysis
that is likely to take place in community-based organizations working
under the challenging conditions of conflict and postconflict settings.

The painful life experiences mentioned in the narratives were primarily
related to the jihad and the civil war but also included other stressors such
as family violence, poverty, and illness. A content analysis revealed three
dimensions of mental health: (a) behavior within the community (e.g., the
degree of respect shown toward one’s neighbors and the quality of one’s
participation in community life), (b) behavior within the family (e.g., the
degree to which one maintained harmonious family relations), and (c) a
person’s internal state (e.g., quality of mood, relative state of calm or
agitation, faith in God, and maintenance of hope and patience in the face
of hardships). Within each of these three domains, several indicators of
poor mental health were identified that would eventually form the items on
the questionnaire. A sample narrative is given later (the Dari terms in the
narrative are explained below).

Step 2—Selecting Indicators of Distress

In the next step, the team identified the most commonly mentioned
indicators of distress in the narratives and created a measure that assessed

the frequency with which an individual had experienced each item during
the previous 2 weeks. Three categories of indicators were selected, corre-
sponding to the three dimensions of mental health mentioned earlier:
functioning in the community, functioning within one’s family, and one’s
internal state.

Sample Narrative

The daughter of the woman who is the focus of this story told us the
following story.2

We were four sisters and four brothers. Only two of our sisters were
older, and the rest of our brothers and sisters were younger when our
father died of natural causes. Our mother raised the children under
very poor circumstances. During that time the fighting was very bad.
One of our brothers left home to go get groceries; he was only 21
years old. The fighters asked him where he was from, then they killed
him. This affected our mother very much. Then our 18-year-old
brother left to go get groceries, too, and a bomb hit that area and he
died. Our family was at home, but they brought the bodies to our
mother. Our second brother died 2 months after the first brother. Our
mother continued to live her life, but she is very weak. She works at
a hospital. Her pay, which is 1700 to 1800 Afghanis [about US$36] a
month helps her live her life. And her two sons live with her. She
always has a severe headache. Her fishar is always high and she has
diabetes. She doesn’t have much of an appetite. She often becomes
jigar khun and cries a lot and tries to stay away from people when she
is at home. She tries to stay away from gatherings, and if she does go
she becomes very impatient while she is there. Every time she thinks
about one of her sons and how one was shot with holes in his body and
how the other one was shattered into pieces because of the bomb, she
becomes very impatient. When she is very impatient she becomes
angry and starts fighting. She is always talking about her sons. There
are tears in her eyes all the time, and when she cries too much her eyes
turn red. When she is at home, she puts a curse on the people who took
her sons away from her. She prays, and she does not have a good
relationship with her family.

Our original plan was to select the eight most commonly mentioned
items in each category; however, a small number of highly salient indica-
tors were identified in the social domains (family and community), whereas
considerably more items reflecting internal psychological states were men-
tioned. Thus, the measure includes fewer items from each of the social
domains than it does from the category of internal states. Two of the 24
items were subsequently found to be overly redundant with other items on
the measure and were therefore dropped, leaving a total of 22 items. The
22-item ASCL (English version) can be seen in the Appendix. (The Dari
version is available upon request.)

The ASCL includes numerous indicators of distress familiar to Western
psychiatry. It is also includes several indigenous items, as can be seen in the
sample narrative above. One such item is “thinking too much,” a commonly
recognized symptom of distress found throughout Asia (de Jong, 2002; van de
Put & Eisenbruch, 2004). Another item is jigar khun, a form of sadness that
includes grief following interpersonal loss but that may also be a reaction to
any deeply disappointing or painful experience. Jigar khun, rather than gham-
geen (sadness), was the term normally used to describe the emotional reaction
of people who had lost family members during the war. Another indigenous
term is asabi, which refers to feeling nervous or highly stressed; people with
high levels of asabi were described as overwhelmed by major life stressors
such as poverty, domestic violence, and single parenting and were more likely

1 Readers interested in this sort of highly focused ethnographic approach
are referred to the highly informative work of Handwerker (2001) on
“quick ethnography.”

2 Indigenous terms in the sample narrative are described later.





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to quarrel with family members and beat their children. Two other indigenous
constructs are closely related; these are fishar-e-bala and fishar-e-payin.3

These terms are commonly misinterpreted by Afghans as high and low blood
pressure, respectively; however, they are actually unrelated to blood pressure
and refer instead to an internal state of emotional pressure and agitation
(fishar-e-bala) or low energy and motivation (fisha-e- payin). Although they
reflect different internal states, Afghans often refer to fishar-e-bala and fishar-
e-payin simply as fishar; furthermore, fishar was among the most common
reasons for seeking medical treatment or self-medicating, typically with ben-
zodiazepines or herbal remedies. There is also an item on the ASCL that was
endorsed only by women, “beating oneself,” which entails hitting oneself in
the head or elsewhere on the body as an expression of intense distress.

Step 3: Translation and Back-Translation of the ASCL

The ASCL was initially constructed in English. The English version was
then translated into Dari by a bilingual Afghan consultant. The Dari version
was then back-translated into English by a second bilingual Afghan con-
sultant unfamiliar with the original English items. Discrepancies between
the original and back-translated versions of the ASCL were noted and
resolved through discussion with the two consultants. Numerous changes
were made to the original Dari version to better capture the intended
meaning of specific questionnaire items. The decision to conduct the
survey in Dari rather than Pashto (the other primary language in Afghan-
istan) was based on the fact the Dari is the common language in the capital
city of Kabul.

Step 4: Group Review of Appropriateness and Ease of
Comprehension of ASCL Items

The next step entailed a careful review of all items on the Dari version
of the ASCL by the two consultants, the data collection team, and the two
expatriate members of the research team. The wording of several items was
modified to enhance ease of understanding.

Step 5: Pilot Testing the ASCL

Because the majority of Kabul residents have very limited literacy skills,
we created a visual graphic that depicts five glasses ranging from empty
(“never”) to some liquid (“1 day per week”) to half full (“2–3 days per
week”) to mostly full (“4–5 days per week”) to full (“every day”). The
surveyors read all of the items aloud to each participant and asked the
participant to point to the glass that best corresponded to the frequency
with which he or she had experienced each item on the questionnaire (see

The ASCL was pilot tested on a sample of 30 women and 30 men in two
districts of Kabul. The measure demonstrated a high level of internal
consistency (Cronbach’s � � .93). Item analysis revealed that all 22 items
contributed to the reliability of the scale; therefore, all items were retained.
Because no modifications were made to the ASCL as a result of the pilot
administration, all 60 pilot questionnaires were subsequently included as
part of the full sample.

Step 6: The Eight-District Survey

The ASCL was administered to 324 adults (162 women and 162 men) in
8 of Kabul’s 16 districts over the course of 5 days. The mean age of
participants was 41.23 years (SD � 4.83). We attempted to select districts
that had experienced varying levels of war-related violence although, in
fact, most of Kabul had been subjected to severe shelling during the war.
As before, the 2 female surveyors went from house to house inviting
women to participate in the study; similarly, the male surveyors again
approached men in mosques, in their shops, and on the street.

The survey team explained the purpose and voluntary nature of the
study, and attained informed consent from all participants. Individuals with

limited literacy skills gave their consent orally.4 Participants were curious
about the rationale for the survey and many asked what concrete benefit
they would receive for their participation. The surveyors explained that the
data would be used to help local organizations develop more effective
mental health resources for Afghans, but that there was no immediate or
concrete benefit for participating. Although we were concerned that this
might dissuade people from completing the survey, this explanation turned
out to be sufficient: there was a 100% participation rate among the women,
and a 90% participation rate among the men. All of the men in the sample
were married, and a nearly equal proportion of the women were married
(n � 83, 51%) or widowed (n � 79, 49%). This high proportion of widows
reflects the extent of destruction caused by the war, in which an extraor-
dinary number of men died either as civilians during the civil war or as
combatants during the jihad against the Soviets. The disruptive nature of
the war is also evident in the number of participants who reported having
left the city at some point as a result of the violence (n � 188, 58%).

The ASCL again proved to be highly internally consistent, with a Cron-
bach’s alpha of .93 (identical to that found in the pilot administration). Item
analysis again indicated that all 22 items contributed to the internal consistency
of the instrument; therefore, all of the original 22 items were retained.

Step 7: Assessing the Validity of the ASCL

To assess the construct validity of the ASCL, we sought to assess
whether it would correlate as expected with a measure of exposure to
war-related experiences of violence and loss. Previous research with other
war-affected populations has documented a strong positive correlation
between level of exposure to war-related violence and loss and level of
psychiatric symptomatology (Miller et al., 2002; Mollica et al., 1998). In
the present study, we assessed exposure to war-related violence and loss
with the Afghan War Experiences Scale (AWES), which asks participants
to indicate whether they have experienced each of 17 war-related experi-
ences of violence or loss, with the answer choices Never (0), Once (1), or
More Than Once (2). Scores on the 17 items are totaled, yielding a possible
range of 0–34, with higher total scores reflecting greater exposure to
war-related experiences. The AWES was adapted from the War Experi-
ences Scale (WES) developed by Weine et al. (2000) and Miller et al.
(2002) in their research with Bosnian refugees. Additional items were
added to the WES to assess land mine-related injuries and rockets destroy-
ing one’s home; the measure was subsequently translated into Dari by a
bilingual consultant and the accuracy of translation was then checked by a
second bilingual consultant. The internal consistency (reliability) of the
AWES in the present study was excellent, with a Cronbach’s alpha of .93.

Because of logistical difficulties, we were unable to administer the
AWES together with the ASCL during the initial eight-district survey.
Therefore, we administered both measures to an additional sample of 100
adults (50 women, 50 men) in five districts of Kabul, using the same
recruitment process described earlier. The ASCL demonstrated excellent
construct validity. Scores on the ASCL were highly and positively asso-
ciated with scores on the AWES (r � 70, p � .001), indicating that …

Chapter 2

The Concept of Posttraumatic Growth in an Adult Sample
from Port-au-Prince, Haiti

A Mixed-Methods Study |
Grant J. Rich, Skultip (Jill) Sirikantraporn, and Wismick Jean-Charles

In recent years, resilience has been examined more frequently in cross-cultural contexts in order to better capture the
nuances of the recovery/thriving process after trauma as it varies around the globe. This chapter focuses upon
posttraumatic growth (PTG) in a sample of adult Haitians from Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s largest city and capital, and
the site of its devastating 2010 earthquake.


Haiti is a Caribbean nation that is located in the Greater Antilles archipelago, where it occupies the western quarter
of the island of Hispaniola (the eastern portion of the island is the Dominican Republic). It population is estimated
at between 10 and 11 million, and thus it is the second most populous nation in the Caribbean (Dash, 2010). Today,
French is spoken, though Haitian Kreyòl predominates, and the population is 95 percent white and 5 percent white
or mixed (Haiti, 2017). Its Gini index indicates extremely high economic inequality between the wealthy and the
poor, and it ranks very low on the UN Human Development Index, a composite measure of life expectancy,
education, and per capita income, ranking 163rd out of 188 nations in 2016 (list of countries by Human
Development Index, 2017).

Haiti has a diverse history. The region was originally inhabited by the indigenous people, the Taínos. Christopher
Columbus landed there on his first voyage in 1492, near the present-day cities of Limonade and Cap Haitian. The
Spanish brought infectious diseases, creating small pox epidemics, and maltreatment of the natives included the
forced labor encomienda system and forced conversions to Catholicism. The native population was decimated over
time and piracy flourished. After Spanish rule from 1492 to 1625, French rule dominated, and the western part of
the island was renamed Saint Domingue (the 1697 Treat of Ryswick formally ended the French-Spanish hostilities).
The French imported and enslaved thousands of Africans, transporting them to Saint Domingue to work in the
sugarcane and coffee plantations. The colonial whites became vastly outnumbered by the enslaved Africans, and
other additional social groups emerged, such as free blacks and free coloreds (Dubois, 2004; Geggus, 2014; Girard,
2010; James, 1963).

Eventually, free coloreds, as well as enslaved and free blacks, agitated for rights and freedom. In the 1790s,
revolts such as that led by Ogé and Chavannes paved the way for the Haitian Revolution, which was led by
Toussaint L’Ouverture, a former slave (and notably slave owner himself), and was in part inspired by the 1789
French Revolution. The Haitian Revolution resulted in the end of slavery and the defeat of Napolean Bonaparte’s
army. Thus, in 1804 Haiti became not solely the only nation in the world that was created as a result of a successful
slave revolt (in 1804), it also became the first independent country in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the
second republic in the Americas (Dubois, 2004; Geggus, 2014; Girard, 2010; James, 1963).

Unfortunately, the ensuing decades were tumultuous ones politically, socially, and economically for Haiti, with
many leadership transitions, including an almost 20-year-long occupation by the United States and its forces from

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1915 to 1934. Soon after arrival, the US Marines took control of Port-au-Prince and the banks, declared martial law,
and censored journalists (Dash, 2010; Dubois, 2004, 2013; Farmer, 2005; Girard, 2010). During the Duvalier
dynasty (1957–1986), severe abuses and corruption continued under both Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier, as
evidenced by the rulers’ use of the Tontons Macoutes group, which kept order by terrorizing the general public,
especially political opponents. Political instability continued, with coups d’etat in 1991 and 2004 especially notable.
The most significant event of the past decade was the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 10,
2010. Estimates of the death toll ranged from 100,000 to over 200,000. Over 1.6 million were left homeless, and
infrastructure was decimated, especially in Port-au-Prince, the national capital and largest city. The aftermath of the
earthquake included a large cholera outbreak, adding to and prolonging the devastation. Haiti was the poorest nation
in the Western hemisphere before the earthquake, and its institutions and recovery were further destroyed by the
earthquake. Humanitarian aid from foreign governmental and nongovernmental groups was not always received,
was not received in timely fashion, or was distributed in corrupt fashion, causing further problems for Haitians
(Dubois, 2013; Farmer, 2011; Katz, 2013). Indeed, Haiti often ranks among the most corrupt countries in the world
on the Corruption Perceptions Index, and crime, especially in Port-au-Prince, is a continuing concern, especially in
areas such as Cité Soleil (e.g., Schwartz, 2010). Poverty is often associated with social problems, and indeed in
Haiti, there is a notable challenge of modern-day slavery (known as restavec), in which poor, vulnerable children
are sent to live and work with an adult, sometimes a distant relative, in what amounts in many cases to brutal
servitude (Cadet, 1998; Haiti, 2017).

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti as a Category 4 storm. Death toll estimates ranged from the
official figure of 546 to over 1,000 and damage estimates approached US$2 billion, with approximately 175,1000
left homeless (Hurricane Matthew, 2017). Much of the worst of the hurricane was in southern Haiti, though gusts of
60 MPH reached Port-au-Prince. Data collection for the present chapter was conducted in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
approximately one month later in November 2016.



For the quantitative portion of this study, there were 113 participants. They were sampled from Port-au-Prince,
Haiti’s largest city, and the site of the 2010 earthquake. Table 2.1 revealed the descriptive results of the
demographic variables. The demographic questionnaire revealed that the mean age of the participants was 26.56
(SD= 5.60, min-max= 19–48). The sex ratio of the participants was relatively equal with 46.9 percent female and
52.2 percent male. For marital status, 83.8 percent identified as single and 6.3 percent reported being married.
About 55.1 percent reported having a four-year college education and 17.8 percent a master’s degree; 40.4 percent
reported moderate income and 50.5 percent low to very low income; and 80.9 percent self-identified as Christian.
One Hundred percent of the sample reported having experienced at least 3 types (out of 17) of traumatic events with
50.8 percent reporting at least 11 traumatic events.

Table 2.1 Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample (N=113)

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Variables Number (%) Mean Range

Age 26.56 19- 48

Female 53 (46.9)
Male 59 (52.2)

Marital Status
Single 93 (83.8)
Married 7 (6.3)
Divorced 1 (.9)
Decline to answer 9 (8.1)

Very high 2 (1.8)
High 8 (7.3)
Moderate 44 (40.4)
Low 38 (34.9)
Very low 1 7 (‘I 5.6)

High school 3 (2.8)
Two-year college 21 (18 .6)
Four-year college 59 (55.1)
Master’s 19 (17.8)
Advanced degree 2 (‘I. 9)
Dec line to answer 3 (2.8)

Employed for wages 14 (12.7)
Self-employed 2 (1.8)
Out of work for more than one year 5 (4.5)
O ut of work for less than one year 4 (3.6)
Student 84 (76.4)

Christianity 89 (80.9)
O ther (but did not specify) 14 (‘12.7)
Decline to answer 7 9 (6.40)

Life Event Total 11 3-1 7

3- 5 events 3 (6.1)
6-10 events 28 (43.2)
11-13 events 20 (30.8)
14-1 7 events 13 (20)

Type of event
Natural Disaster 81 (95.3)
Fire or Explosion 61 (65.6)
Transportation Accident 67 (71.3)
Serious accident at work, home 51 (54.3)
Exposure to toxic substance 40 (43.5)
Physical assaul t 62 (64.6)
Assault w ith a weapon 54 (58.8)
Sexual assault 42 (44.2)

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In part 2 of the study, that is, the in-depth interview, 11 out of 113 total participants participated. All participants
were female.


A total of 113 participants were administered a survey consisting of six questionnaires: a demographic form, the life
events checklist (LEC), the PTG inventory (PTGI) scale, the Adult Resilience Measure (ARM), the Meaning in Life
Questionnaire (MLQ), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS).

Life Events Checklist
The LEC scale is a self-report measure of participants’ lifelong exposure to traumatic events according to the
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) criterion A diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (DSM)-5. Subjects are given a list of 17 traumatic stressors to choose whether the trauma happened to
them, they witnessed it, they learned about it, or it was part of their job, or else they indicate they are not sure, or
that the question doesn’t apply (Gray, Litz, Sue, & Lombardo, 2004).

Posttraumatic Growth Inventory Scale
The PTGI scale is a 21-item Likert scale measuring participants’ degree of PTG according to Tedeschi and Calhoun
(1996) in the following five subscales: relating to others, new possibilities, personal strength, spiritual change, and
appreciation of life. Each subscale consists of possible responses from a Likert scale of 1–6 (1= I did not experience
this change as a result of my crisis; 6= I experienced this change to a very great degree as a result of my crisis).

The PTGI scale has been shown to have satisfactory internal consistency among the total and subscales scores
and test-retest reliability (Taku, Cann, Calhoun, & Tedeschi, 2008). Studies have examined the cross-cultural
validity of the PTGI scale and whether the items are more influenced by personality or culture. A study by Taku and
Oshio (2015) assessed whether the items in the subscale truly measured PTG variables, using a Japanese sample.
The results showed that PTG measured by the scale is more likely to occur when core beliefs are challenged, and
few occur without cognitive effort. Thus, the significant personality factor in PTG measured by the PTGI scale
shows that it is likely a largely universal phenomenon, or at least one present in multiple cultures. Additional cross-
cultural studies have suggested that differences in the degree of PTG dimensions are culturally influenced (Cormio,
Romitto, Giotta, & Mattioli, 2015; Ho, Law, Wang, Shih, Hsu, & Hou, 2013).

Adult Resilience Measure-28
The ARM is a 28-item Likert scale that was adapted from the Child and Youth Resilience Measure-28 (CYRM-28;
Ungar & Liebenberg, 2011), one of the most culturally sensitive resilience measures (Windle, Bennett, & Noyes,
2011). The measure was derived from data collected in 12 different countries over 3 different continents. The ARM­

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28 has three subscales (individual, relational, and contextual resilience). Reliability analyses were conducted, which
demonstrated that the CYRM-28 and its subscales were internally consistent (Leibenberg, Ungar, & Van de Vijver,

Meaning in Life Questionnaire
The MLQ is a ten-item scale rated on a seven-point scale from “Absolutely True” to “Absolutely Untrue” on the
person’s perception of meaning in life. There are two subscales: the presence of meaning subscale, measuring how
full individuals feel their lives are of meaning (Steger, Frazier, Oishi, & Kaler, 2006), and the search for meaning
subscale, measuring how motivated individuals are in finding meaning in their lives. The MLQ has good reliability
(presence: α= .82, and search: α= .87), test-retest stability, and good fit factor structure (Steger, Frazier, Oishi, &
Kaler, 2006).

Satisfaction with Life Scale
The SWLS is a five-item scale measuring cognitive judgments of one’s life satisfaction (Diener, Emmons, Larsen,
& Griffin, 1985). Respondents answer how much they agree or disagree with each of the five items, using a seven-
point scale that ranges from 7 = strongly agree to 1 = strongly disagree. A meta-analysis study found that 62 articles
that investigated the reliability of the SWLS in different populations found an average of .76 reliability coefficients
(Vassar, 2007).

Semi-structured Interview Guide
An interview guide included 20 open-ended questions in French and aimed to explore in-depth experiences and
understanding of the concept of PTG. The questions were based on recent research and clinical literature on PTG
and on cultural literature on the Haitian culture and society (Cadet, 1998; Dash, 2010; Dubois, 2013; Girard, 2010).
Participants could answer the interview questions in French or in Haitian Kreyòl.


Quantitative Data

Descriptive statistics were used for frequency findings on the demographic variables, LEC, PTGI, ARM, MLQ, and
SWLS. Reliability analyses were utilized to test each measure’s internal reliability (Cronbach alpha’s; see Table 2.2
for the reliability results). T-test analyses were used to examine whether there were any mean differences of LEC,
PTGI, ARM, MLQ, and SWLS among different demographic groups. Pearson correlation analyses were used to
analyze correlations between the study main variables. A multiple linear regression model was used to examine the
effects of independent variables (demographic variables, PTGI, MLQ, SWLS) on the dependent variable (ARM
subscales). All significant results were set at p value < .05. Table 2.2 Reliability Analyses Results http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml 9/21/2018 http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml Qualitative Data The Grounded Theory was used to generate an emergent theory through the discovery of themes (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) from a purposively recruited group of people who have experienced the same phenomenon, which is the 2010 Earthquake. Maximum variable sampling (Maykut & Morehouse, 1994) was attempted by recruiting from all adult age groups and socioeconomic status. The sample size was determined by the concurrent process of data collection and coding procedures until the saturation point was met, the point at which no new themes were forthcoming (Maykyt & Mayhouse, 1994). Constant comparative analysis through three stages of coding (open coding, axial coding, and selective coding) was used to discover emerging themes and an overarching theory (see Glaser & Strauss, 1967). There were several strategies utilized to increase trustworthiness of the study findings. First, peer scrutiny of the research project was used where three coders independently coded the data and compared emerging categories and themes until the final version of categories and themes were agreed upon. Second, an audit trail and journaling among researchers was utilized to increase researchers’ reflexivity and progressive subjectivity (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) to minimize the intrusive influence of the researchers’ own biases on the research procedures and findings. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Quantitative Results Reliability Analysis Results A total of 113 Haitians participated in the study by completing six questionnaires. The reliability analysis (Cronbach’s alpha) was utilized to examine internal reliability of PTGI, ARM, MLQ, and SWLS with p value < .05. The results showed acceptable to great reliability for PTGI subscales (except for spiritual change) as follows: relating to others (α = .81), new possibilities (α = .72), appreciation of life (α = .74), personal strength (α = .72), total PTG (α = .93), and spiritual change (α = .49). The results showed good reliability for ARM subscales as follows: individual (α = .74), relational (α = .76), contextual (α = .70), and total resilience (α = .85). The results http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml 9/21/2018 http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml   showed acceptable reliability for MLQ subscales as follows: presence of meaning in life (α = .70) and search for meaning (α = .76). Lastly, the results showed acceptable reliability for SWLS (α = .77). Table 2.3 revealed the descriptive results of each main variable of the study and correlation matrix of the main variables. Table 2.3 Intercorrelation Matrix of PTGI, MLQ, ARM, and SWLS (N=113) Bivariate Correlation Results As shown in Table 2.3, Pearson correlation analyses showed the relationship between PTGI and other main variables as follows: (1) PTGI-relating to others was significantly related in the positive direction to all subscales of ARM, the presence of meaning subscale of MLQ, and SWLS; (2) PTGI-new possibilities was significantly related in the positive direction to all subscales of ARM (except for relational resilience), the presence of meaning subscale of MLQ, and SWLS; (3) PTGI-personal strengths was significantly related in the positive direction to individual resilience and contextual resilience, the presence of meaning subscale of MLQ, and SWLS; (4) PTGI-appreciation of life was significantly related in the positive direction to the presence of meaning subscale of MLQ and SWLS; and (5) PTGI-total was significantly related in the positive direction to all subscales of ARM (except for relational resilience), the presence of meaning subscale of MLQ, and SWLS. Lastly, PTGI-spiritual change was found to be significantly related in the positive direction to SWLS only. Pearson correlation analyses showed the relationship between MLQ and other main variables as follows: (1) the presence of meaning subscale was significantly related in the positive direction to all subscales of ARM, all subscales of PTGI, and SWLS; (2) the search for meaning subscale was found to not be significantly related to any other variables. Pearson correlation analyses showed the relationship between SWLS and other main variables as follows: (1) total life satisfaction was significantly related in the positive direction to all subscales of ARM; (2) total life satisfaction was significantly related in the positive direction to all subscales of PTGI; (3) total life satisfaction was significantly related in the positive direction to the presence of meaning subscale of MLQ but not the search for meaning subscale of MLQ. Multiple Linear Regression Results To clarify the relationship between PTG construct and resilience construct, a multiple linear regression was calculated to predict the effects of PTGI subscales and other main variables (MLQ and SWLS) on resilience (ARM) http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml 9/21/2018 http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml   subscales. A significant regression equation was found for individual resilience (F(8,56) = 7.226, p < .000), with R2 of .508. Participants’ predicted individual resilience is equal to 28.40 (B) + 1.004 (PTGI-total) + 1.239 (PTGI­ relating to others) + 1.811 (PTGI-new possibilities) +1.224 (PTGI-personal strength) + .264 (presence of meaning). A significant regression equation was found for relational resilience (F(8,52) = 2.484, p < .023), with R2 of .276. Participants’ predicted relational resilience is equal to 23.304 (B) + 1.194 (PTGI-new possibilities) + 2.75 (presence of meaning). Qualitative Results Eleven (all female) participants who completed the quantitative part volunteered to participate in the in-depth interview for qualitative analysis. There are five emergent categories (appreciation of life, personal strength, change in interpersonal relations, the role of religion in trauma recovery, perceived happiness) and eight themes. This section presents exemplary quotations that capture the major categories found, together with their major themes (at least 60 percent of participant endorsement); discusses the themes of PTG that emerged from the data by the Grounded Theory method; and compares these themes with previous literature on Tedeschi and Calhoun’s model of PTG. Five categories and ten themes emerged from the data (see Figure 2.1). Figure 2.1 Grounded Theory for Posttraumatic Growth Model in the Haitian Sample (N=11). Category 1: Appreciation of Life This category depicted themes that are related to the participants’ endorsement of the sense of appreciation of life. This category is closely aligned with appreciation of life, one of the main domains in the original PTG model by Tedeschi and Calhoun (1996). There are two prominent themes in this category. Theme 1: “Do not Take Life for Granted” Ten of 11 participants (90 percent) mentioned statements that they learned to not take life for granted after having experienced life trauma. Quotes from participants to illustrate this theme include: What gives you hope: Because I was alive, and there were other people who did not have that chance. (P#3) The fact that I’m living and I’m not sick. I wake up everyday, I come here and I can see my friends. (P#6) http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml 9/21/2018 http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml I see that life is short so we have to make our mark during our time here because like fire, it goes by fast. (P#7) I always hear other says life is short, and it can be gone in one instant (very quickly). (P#9) Theme 2: Living Life in the Moment to the Fullest Nine of 11 participants (81 percent) also stated that they learned to live life in the moment and accept all the good and the bad that it presents. Quotes from participants to illustrate this theme include: To take advantage of the present moment because we do not know when we’re going to die, or when we will perish somewhere in the world or at least when life will end on earth, we do not know, so we must take advantage of the experience, the present moment to enjoy life fully. (P#1) You come to realize that everything is temporary, just live the present moment….It’s like enjoying every moment whether it was good or bad because it’s all of the little things together which makes life. (P#9) We should…as long as we’re living, we should live life to the fullest and realize that we’re alive and after this trauma that we have experienced. Try to live as much as we can. (P#4) It is to celebrate the present moment. (P#10) Category 2: The Role of Religion in Trauma Recovery This category is closely related to spiritual change domain in the Tedeschi and Calhoun’s model (1996). This category captures themes that participants mentioned how religion has helped them cope with trauma and crisis in life. There are two themes in this category. Theme 1: Recovery through God and Prayers Eleven of 11 participants (100 percent) endorsed that they have recovered from life crisis through God, their connection with God, or prayers. Quotes from participants to illustrate this theme include: Sometimes I don’t even want to live, I even thought of killing myself sometimes, but my God helps me stay hopeful. (P#4) Religion…yes, it’s true after a traumatic event I lean more toward prayer. (P#5) I always referred to the Bible, I’m always…the people who often support me are the priests, so I can say religion influenced [my recovery]. (P#6) Spirituality because I truly believe in God. When I know that I am really traumatized and I pray often. (P#7) Theme 2: Knowing that “I am not alone” with Support from Church Seven out of 11 participants (63 percent) mentioned that the reason that regularly going to church helped them cope with life problems is because they got to learn about other people’s struggles, which helped them know that they were not alone in their struggles and life hardship. Quotes from participants to illustrate this theme include: I’m also a choir member. Although there are difficulties in life that does not mean that you are the only one who’s going through it. (P#4) I pray often, I go to church, I sing and because I sing and pray so I forget what has just happened, and get out of myself. And I see that I’m not the only one who is in this situation and that there are other people who has been through it as well. (P#7) Category 3: Perceived Happiness http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml 9/21/2018 http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml As part of trauma recovery, the concept of happiness was tapped into, and two different themes with regards to perceived happiness were identified. Theme 1: Peace and Freedom to Enjoy Life Ten out of 11 participants (90 percent) stated that happiness to them means “being free,” “being at peace with oneself,” and/or “having the freedom to enjoy life.” Quotes from participants to illustrate this theme include: I believe that happiness is being free to take life as it is without resigning oneself of the bad thing of life or at least, the traumatic experience, to learn to be guided by the good thing of life without worrying about the problems that happen to us every day. (P#1) You’re free with your choices, your actions, and to be the person that you want to be, to have good friends and family. (P#3) Happiness is when I am at peace with myself. (P#4) You are happy when you’re feeling good and at peace in your place. (P#11) Theme 2: Money is Necessary for People when they do not have Enough While none of the participants endorsed money as their own source of happiness, 10 out 11 participants (90 percent) believed that money is a source of happiness for other Haitians. Quotes from participants to illustrate this theme include: ¾ of Haitians would say they want to have money because we do not have enough. (P#3) Money is more important for Haitians because we live in a society that is poor I can say that money will always be more important to them. (P#8) I will not speak in general; I will speak about my friends who are Haitians. They think that having a lot of money is what can make them happy. (P#10) Category 4: Personal Strength This category depicts the themes in relation to the recognition of their personal assets in overcoming trauma in life. Theme 1: Self-acceptance and the Ability to Move Forward Eight out of 11 participants (72 percent) endorsed the idea that accepting one’s self and one’s ability to move forward helped them cope with the tragic incident. Quotes from participants to illustrate this theme include: It is to overcome…I mean to surpass what has happened and use it as a lesson, yes that’s it. (P11) Then you learn to accept yourself for who you are after these things, I think. (P3) It’s accepting that you have been through what happened. Try to live with it day by day until the pain is completely gone. (P#4) Accept that it when something bad happened to you then you learn from the traumatic experience, it helped you to blossom personally. (P#8) Theme 2: Strength to Overcome Nine out of 11 participants (81 percent) reported that they saw their own inner strength as a way to get through trauma. Quotes from participants to illustrate this theme include: I learned that that I was stronger than I thought. (P#3) http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml 9/21/2018 http://e.pub/0dxms7won0rc2bvser2j.vbk/OEBPS/xhtml/chapter2-print-1537560397.xhtml I think I was a child also whom could not face a series of traumatic events but after I become stronger when going through traumatic events. (P#5) I always believe in my strength….I learned that I am someone who is strong of character after I’m traumatized (P#6) I simply told myself I have been through this already so I can overcome other obstacles and there is no need to be afraid. (P#7) Category 5: Change in Interpersonal Relations This category … Unit 2 Theoretical and Methodological Issues Subunit 2 Methodological Issues in Psychology and Culture Article 2 3-1-2009 Types of Comparative Studies in Cross-Cultural Psychology Fons J. R. van de Vijver Tilburg University, The Netherlands, [email protected] This Online Readings in Psychology and Culture Article is brought to you for free and open access (provided uses are educational in nature)by IACCP and [email protected] Copyright © 2009 International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. All Rights Reserved. ISBN 978-0-9845627-0-1 Recommended Citation van de Vijver, F. J. (2009). Types of Comparative Studies in Cross-Cultural Psychology. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1017 http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/ http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/ https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2 https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss2 https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss2/2 https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1017 http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/ http://www.iaccp.org/drupal/ mailto:[email protected] Types of Comparative Studies in Cross-Cultural Psychology AbstractAbstract From a methodological perspective cross-cultural studies in psychology differ in three dimensions. First, cross-cultural psychological studies can be exploratory or test specific hypotheses. Second, some cross-cultural studies compare countries or ethnic groups while other cross-cultural studies relate specific characteristics of a country or ethnicity (e.g., socialization patterns or religiosity) to psychological variables. Third, studies can compare either constructs (e.g., do Chinese and Kenyans mean the same when they say that a person is intelligent?) or score levels (e.g., are Americans more extravert than Italians?). A classification of cross-cultural psychological studies, based on the three dimensions, is presented and examples are given. Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. This article is available in Online Readings in Psychology and Culture: https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss2/2 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss2/2 INTRODUCTION Types of Cross-Cultural Studies The Argentinean author Jorge Borges once proposed a taxonomy of animals that he claimed to have found in a Chinese encyclopedia (http://www.multicians.org/thvv/borges-animals.html): 1. those that belong to the Emperor, 2. embalmed ones, 3. those that are trained, 4. suckling pigs, 5. mermaids, 6. fabulous ones, 7. stray dogs, 8. those included in the present classification, 9. those that tremble as if they were mad, 10. innumerable ones, 11. those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, 12. others, 13. those that have just broken a flower vase, 14. those that from a long way off look like flies. The wonderful creativity of the taxonomy provides a good introduction for the central topic of the present chapter: How can we categorize cross-cultural studies? The classification by Borges clearly illustrates that there are various ways of classifying and that some are more useful than others. The same issue plays a role in categorizing cross-cultural studies. Many categorizations can be envisaged, but not all of them are equally consequential. Common distinctions are between cross-national and intranational studies; the former involves different countries, while in the latter different cultural groups are studied that live in a single country. Examples of the latter are the numerous studies in which European Americans and African Americans or Hispanics are involved. In European countries intranational studies often compare majority group members and migrants or refugees or examine topics that are specific for migrants, such as acculturation processes. Examples of cross-national studies are the numerous comparisons of American and East Asian countries, such as Japan and China. Another categorization system can be based on the various psychological disciplines in which cross-cultural studies are carried out, such as social psychology, personality, and developmental psychology. An application of this perspective is particularly useful if one wants to identify areas of interest in cross- cultural psychology; social behavior is the most frequently examined behavioral domain in cross-cultural psychology. Still another perspective refers the distinction between cultural 3 van de Vijver: Types of Comparative Studies in Cross-Cultural Psychology Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press, 2011 and cross-cultural psychology; the latter is culture comparative (a journal mainly devoted to comparative studies is the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, see http://jcc.sagepub.com/), while the former is more focused on an in-depth analysis of cultural phenomena in a specific culture (journal: Culture and Psychology, see http://cap.sagepub.com/). The present chapter only deals with comparative studies. A Methodological Classification of Cross-Cultural Studies The perspective to categorize studies of the current chapter is methodological. Three dimensions are introduced. The first dimension refers to the question as to whether contextual factors are included in a study. Contextual factors refer here to a wide variety of variables that could influence the cross-cultural differences observed; these variables may involve either participant characteristics (such as socioeconomic status, education, and age) or culture characteristics (such as a country's affluence and institutions). Many cross- cultural studies do not include contextual factors; these studies are interested in the comparison of countries. Examples are the large cross-national comparisons of educational achievement, such as the TIMMS project (http://timss.bc.edu), in which the performance of secondary school students in mathematics and science is compared across many countries. One of the most essential parts of reports of such studies is a table in which the scores of the countries are ranked. In other cross-cultural studies, however, more attention is paid to cultural factors and countries are deliberately chosen because of some characteristic they have. An example is the currently popular distinction between individualistic and collectivistic countries (see the chapter on individualism and collectivism on this website). Both types of studies have their own strengths and weaknesses. If studies include many countries, they almost always have an intrinsic interest for cross-cultural psychologists. The studies increase our insight in the cross-cultural differences and similarities across these countries. Historically, they are often the precursors of more focused studies in which country differences are seen as related to differences in underlying dimensions. The latter type study is more precise than studies in which no contextual factors were examined; therefore, they are often easier to interpret. When a cross-cultural study involves only a few countries, problems of interpretability of differences are often large. As an example, suppose that a self-esteem questionnaire has been administered to adults in the USA and Iran, and that the mean score of the Americans was higher. The seemingly obvious conclusion would be that American adults on average have a higher self-esteem than Iranian adults. The conclusion might be valid, but various alternative explanations can be envisaged. In many Islamic countries there is a norm to be humble and not to brag about one's personal qualities; as a consequence, Iranians may show lower scores. Also, unintended sample differences may account for the difference in scores; the Americans may have had more education (which is known to be positively related to self-esteem). It may well be that if one would examine samples from the two countries that have the same average educational level, the differences in scores on the questionnaire may become smaller or may even disappear altogether. Problems of 4 Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Unit 2, Subunit 2, Chapter 2 https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss2/2 interpretability are more salient in studies in which no cultural factors are included than in studies that include contextual factors. If a measure of the educational level of the participants as well as a questionnaire on the perceived norm about humility would have been administered in both countries, statistical tools, such as regression analysis or covariance analysis, could have been used to evaluate their influence on the cross-cultural score differences observed. The second dimension to classify cross-cultural studies refers to the distinction between exploratory and hypothesis-testing studies that is commonly described in introductory textbooks to methods of research. Exploratory studies attempt to increase our understanding of cross-cultural differences by assuming a perspective that is as open and unprejudiced as possible about the nature and size of cross-cultural differences; no prior ideas are formulated about where these differences and similarities are to be expected. Researchers often want to stay "close to the data" and are not inclined to make large inferential jumps. Exploratory studies are helpful in initial stages of a research paradigm in which it is not yet clear to what extent a theory, model, or instrument "works" in another culture. After the initial stage of exploratory studies, a researcher may feel more confident about what to expect in other cultures. In these cases hypothesis-testing studies can be carried out. In such studies theories or models about the relationship between psychological and cultural phenomena are specified at beforehand and tested for accuracy. Both types of studies have their own strengths and weaknesses. The power to detect differences and similarities in a large variety of domains in a single study is a strength of exploratory studies. A broadband approach to cross-cultural differences provides an efficient means to collect much information in an efficient way. The openness of the exploratory approach also constitutes its weakness: exploratory studies can easily become "fishing trips" in which the researcher wants to "catch" as much as possible. In their most extreme form such studies address a multitude of cultural differences and similarities without providing any overarching framework for the patterning of the similarities of differences. In sum, exploratory studies are usually good at identifying cross- cultural differences and similarities, but poor at providing a framework to interpret these differences. The latter is the stronghold of hypothesis-testing studies, which combine theoretical precision (testing specific cultural aspects) and statistical rigor. The third dimension to classify cross-cultural studies refers to the kind of research question addressed in a study. A distinction is made between structure-oriented and level-oriented studies. As an example of a structure-oriented study, one could ask whether the nature of intelligence differs across countries; the question is not how much samples from various countries differ in intelligence, but whether intelligence is different across countries. For example, it has been argued that Westerners tend to approach problems in an analytic way, which means that a problem is reduced to its constituent parts and solving the problem amounts to successfully dealing with all the parts in succession. Easterners, on the other hand, are said to opt more frequently for a holistic type of reasoning, in which the relations between the parts of a problem rather than the 5 van de Vijver: Types of Comparative Studies in Cross-Cultural Psychology Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press, 2011 parts themselves form the essence of a problem. Whatever the validity of the latter claim, it is helpful to illustrate the issue that in many cases cross-cultural researchers are not interested in quantitative differences, but in qualitative similarities and differences. These structure-oriented studies focus on relationships among variables and attempt to identify similarities and differences in these relationships across cultures. Level-oriented studies examine the size of cross-cultural differences. Examples are the numerous studies in which the level of individualism and collectivism are compared across countries and the studies in which the school performances of American pupils and Eastern Asian pupils are compared. Structure- and level-oriented studies are complementary and often follow each other in time. Studies that examine the similarity of structures across countries are often done first. They pave the way for a second wave of studies in which scores are compared across countries. Although the two kinds of studies often do not have the neat temporal separation suggested here, it is important to realize that they address different questions and that a numerical comparison of scores requires that an instrument measures the same in each cultural group considered. Take the cross-cultural study of depression as an example. Depression has a somatic component (e.g., sleeplessness and loss of appetite) as well as a psychological component (e.g., feeling down and being pessimistic). There are indications that individuals from different cultures with depressive symptoms show more agreement in their somatic symptoms than in their psychological complaints. To some extent this may be a consequence of differences in norms about expressing personal feelings to others. A comparison of depression scores obtained in different cultures can show misleading results if the symptoms (or at least the tendency to report these) are not identical across cultures. Examples The three classification dimensions (i.e., contextual factors included or not included; exploratory vs. hypothesis-testing; structure-oriented vs. level-oriented) produce a total of 8 (= 2 x 2 x 2) studies, as can be seen in Table 1. The eight possibilities are illustrated on the basis of a fictitious set of studies (Table 2 briefly presents real examples, which are not further discussed here). Suppose that we have a theory of emotions according to which each human emotion is a combination of two, independent components: valence (positive and negative emotions) and intensity (low and high intensity) and an instrument that has shown this structure in samples of British psychology students. Each emotion is then seen a point in a two-dimensional space. In the first type of study, structure-oriented psychological differences studies (the names and order of Table 1 are followed here), the researcher may develop a new instrument for a culture in which the instrument has not yet been administered; the development should start from a thorough knowledge of the specific culture. The newly developed instrument is then administered and the researcher examines whether the two-dimensional structure is also present in the new sample. 6 Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Unit 2, Subunit 2, Chapter 2 https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss2/2 Table 1. Types of Studies in Cross-Cultural Psychology (after van de Vijver & Leung, 1997). Orientation more on Consideration of contextual factors Exploration Hypothesis testing (a) Structure-oriented No (1) Structure-oriented psychological differences (2) Structure-oriented generalizability Yes (3) Structure-oriented ecological linkage (4) Structure-oriented contextual theory (b) Level-oriented No (5) Level-oriented psychological differences (6) Level-oriented generalizability Yes (7) Level-oriented ecological linkage (8) Level-oriented contextual theory In the second type of study, structure-oriented generalizability studies, one would accumulate data from various countries with the instrument and check to what extent the two-dimensional structure is found in each of these. In other words, the generality of the structure elsewhere is addressed. The third type of study, a structure-oriented ecological linkage study, could be used if the two-dimensional structure would not be replicated everywhere. It is the challenge for the researcher to determine which contextual factors influence the poor replicability (e.g., two other factors have been found in some countries). We can investigate whether the countries in which the two factors were not found, differ from the countries in which the two-dimensional British structure was found in country indicators, such as average income, educational level, or extraversion. In ecological linkage studies one often needs country indicators. The Internet is a rich source of country-level data. Examples of interesting sites are http://www.un.org and http://www.oecd.org, and www.worldbank.org (and its World Development Indicators for which a subscription is required), http://www.adherents.com/ (for religion data). Anthropologists have built a large database, the Human Relations Area File (HRAF;http://www.yale.edu/hraf), with information on a large number of cultural characteristics, ranging from birth practices to death rites, mainly from pre-industrial societies. The fourth type, structure-oriented contextual theory-based studies, tests theories about cross-cultural differences (or similarities) in structure. In particular when the generalizability studies just described (type 2) would show that the two-dimensional structure does not hold in all cultures examined, the need will arise to learn more about the background of the differences. Structure-oriented contextual theory-based studies could 7 van de Vijver: Types of Comparative Studies in Cross-Cultural Psychology Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press, 2011 test to what extent the two-dimensional model of emotion fits better in countries with a higher level of formal education, collectivism, higher proportions of religious people, with less stringent socialization patterns, to name but a few (arbitrary) examples; in general, in structure-oriented contextual theory-based studies a researcher tests hypotheses that could explain the differences in fit. Table 2. Description for Each Type of Study Type of study Source and description Structure-oriented psychological differences Source: Russell, J. A., & Sato, K. (1995). Comparing emotion words between languages. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 26, 384-391. Description: The authors studied the meaning and equivalence of emotion words among English speaking, Japanese speaking, and Cantonese speaking individuals. A set of 14 photographs of faces was shown to the subjects and they were asked to judge to what extent the face shown in the picture was an expression of each of 14 emotion words. For any two language groups, a correlation index for an emotion word can be calculated based on the ratings of these groups on the 14 photographs. The higher the correlation, the more similar is the meaning of the emotion word across the two languages. Three comparison groups could be formed: English/Japanese, English/Cantonese, and Japanese/Cantonese, and these three groups could be compared on the correlations of the 14 emotion words. Results showed that the correlations were similar across the three comparison groups for 12 of the 14 emotion words Structure-oriented generalizability Source: McCrae, R. R., Terraciano, A., & 79 Members of the Personality Profiles of Cultures Project (2005). Personality profiles of cultures: Aggregate personality traits. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 407-425. Description: The authors studied the generalizability of a well-known Western model of personality, the Five-Factor Model of personality, in many cultures, both Western and non-Western. Structure-oriented ecological linkage Source: Van de Vijver, F. J. R., & Poortinga, Y. H. (2002). Structural equivalence in multilevel research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 33, 141-156. Description: They compared the meaning of Inglehart’s concept of postmaterialism across more than 30 countries. It was found that the concept does not have an identical meaning in countries with low and high Gross National Product. Structure-oriented contextual theory Source: Sidanius, J., Pratto, F., & Rabinowitz, J. L. (1994). Gender, ethnic status, and ideological asymmetry. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 25, 194-216. Description: Based on social dominance theory, the authors proposed that for members of high-status ethnic groups, social dominance orientation (i.e., the desire to establish hierarchical social relationships among social groups) should be positively related to group salience and differential group closeness. Group salience refers to the experienced salience of one's ethnic group membership, and differential group closeness refers to the emotional closeness of one's ethnic group to other ethnic groups. The 8 Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Unit 2, Subunit 2, Chapter 2 https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss2/2 stronger the social dominance orientation, the more salient is one's ethnic identity and the closer one feels toward one's ethnic group. For members of low-status groups, however, the relationship between social dominance orientation and group salience and differential group closeness should be weaker. This prediction was tested in the US with a group of whites, the high-status ethnic group, and a group of Blacks and Hispanics, the low- status groups. Level-oriented psychological differences Source: Guida, F. V., & Ludlow, L. H. (1989). A cross-cultural study of test anxiety. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 20, 178-190. Description: The authors examined cross-cultural differences in test anxiety between American and Chilean school children. The latter group was found to display higher levels of test anxiety. No attempt was made to evaluate causal antecedents for these differences in this study. Level-oriented generalizability Source: Amir, Y., & Sharon, I. (1987). Are social psychological laws cross- culturally valid? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 18, 383-470. Description: The authors replicated a number of well-known Western social psychological studies with Israeli subjects. The authors were interested in the generalizability of findings from experimental social psychology obtained among Western subjects to an Israeli context. Significant main effects could often be replicated but interaction effects did not travel well. Level-oriented ecological linkage Source: Van Hemert, D. D. A., Van de Vijver, F. J. R., Poortinga, Y. H., & Georgas, J. (2002). Structure and score levels of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire across individuals and countries. Personality and Individual Differences. Description: Differences in country scores on the three personality dimensions in Eysenck’s theory (psychoticism, neuroticism, and extraversion) have been reported. The question was addressed to which country-level variables these differences were related. Level-oriented contextual theory Source: Van de Vijver, F. J. R. (1997). Meta-analysis of cross-cultural comparisons of cognitive test performance. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 28, 678-709. Description: A meta-analysis was carried out in which different models that could presumably explain cross-cultural differences in scores on mental tests were tested. As an example, support was found for the hypothesis that differences in GNP and educational expenditure (per head) between cultural groups are positively related to differences on cognitive test scores. Level-oriented psychological differences studies test the presence of cross-cultural differences, often using a t test or analysis of variance. These studies are popular in the literature. Suppose, that we administer a questionnaire measuring our two emotion dimensions in different cultures. A level-oriented psychological differences study could test the presence of differences in valence and intensity across cultures. In such studies the researcher typically does not have prior ideas about where to expect cultural differences on any dimension, but employs well-established statistical techniques (e.g., a t test) to determine if the score differences observed reflect real differences or are mere sample fluctuations that are so small that they can be safely ignored. 9 van de Vijver: Types of Comparative Studies in Cross-Cultural Psychology Produced by The Berkeley Electronic Press, 2011 Level-oriented generalizability studies usually build on studies in Western countries and examine to what extent differences observed there can be generalized to other cultures. Suppose that we have asked participants to indicate the valence and intensity of emotions experienced during the last week and that we consistently find that in Western countries women are more expressive than men, as indicated that women show a higher variation in reported emotions. Level-oriented generalizability studies would be studies in new cultures that address the generality of the Western gender differences. If these studies would find that the gender differences are not universal, the next question would be to examine which country factors could be held responsible for the difference. A level-oriented ecological linkage study could address this question by linking the gender differences observed in the various studies to various country indicators, such as gross national product and average level of education. Finally, level-oriented contextual theory-based studies test a theory of such differences. For example, Williams and Best (1990; reference: Williams, J. E., & Best, D. L. (1990). Measuring sex stereotypes: A multination study. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage) have argued that "national development may be accompanied by a reduction in the degree in which women and men are viewed as 'psychologically different'" (p. 253). Based on this model, we would predict a negative correlation between gender differences in standard deviation of the valence and intensity of reported emotions on the one hand and some indicator of national development (such as Gross Domestic Product per head) on the other hand. Conclusion Hundreds of cross-cultural studies are published each year. These studies can be seen as belonging to different types: they are exploratory or test hypotheses, they include or do not include contextual variables, and they focus either on the structure of psychological phenomena or they compare score levels obtained in different cultures. The rank numbers of the eight types of study in Table 1 should not be seen as rankings going from less to more (or from more to less) valuable studies. Rather, depending on the level of theory and availability of data, co-researchers from other countries, resources and various other issues, each of the eight cells can be appropriate. In each of the cells of Table 1 good and bad studies can be carried out. The dimensions underlying Table 1 may help to think about existing and new studies. The dimensions may help researchers to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of studies and may help to think about design and analysis prior to the data collection, which tends to improve the quality of a study. Suggested Readings Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (1979). Quasi-experimentation: Design and analysis issues for field settings. Chicago: Rand McNally. 10 Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Unit 2, Subunit 2, Chapter 2 https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/orpc/vol2/iss2/2 Harkness, J. A., Van de Vijver, F. J. R., & Mohler, P. Ph. (Eds.) (2002). Cross-cultural survey research. New York: Wiley. Jahoda, G. (1982). Psychology and anthropology: A psychological perspective. London: Academic Press. Lonner, W. J., & Adamopoulos J. (1997). Culture as antecedent to behavior. In J. W. Berry, Y. H. Poortinga, & J. Pandey (Eds.), Handbook of cross-cultural psychology (2nd ed., vol. 1). Chicago: Allyn & Bacon. Lonner, W. J., & Berry, J. W. (Eds.) (1986), Field methods in cross-cultural research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Naroll, R. & Cohen, R. (Eds.) (1970). A handbook of cultural anthropology. New York: American Museum of Natural History. Poortinga, Y.H. (1997b). Towards convergence? In J. W. Berry, Y. H. Poortinga & J. Pandey (Eds.), Handbook of cross-cultural psychology (2nd ed., vol. 1). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Van de Vijver, F. J. R., & Leung, K. (1997). Methods and data analysis for cross-cultural research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Van de Vijver, F. J. R., & Leung, K. (2000). Methodological issues in psychological research on culture. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31, 33-51. Related Websites All links listed here are …

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