Differentiation of Self and Anxiety as a Function of Culture

The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between differentiation of self, anxiety, and cultural identity. It is widely accepted that people with high differentiation of self experience lower levels of anxiety than those with low differentiation of self. Being a theory which originated in western, predominantly individualist culture, the researcher sought to determine whether this would be the case with those who identify with more collectivist cultures. Participants (N = 152) were comprised mostly of women. Participants completed three inventories: the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Differentiation of Self Inventory, and the Self- Construal Scale, which measures whether one identifies predominantly with individualist or collectivist culture. Results supported the hypothesis that those who reported high differentiation of self also reported lower anxiety; those who reported low differentiation of self experienced more anxiety. This was the case among those who affiliated more with collectivism as well as individualism. Conclusions can be drawn that, among participants who reside in an individualist culture, differentiation of self is inversely related to anxiety, regardless of cultural affiliation.