Traditional versus modern values, self-perceived interpersonal factors, and posttraumatic stress in Chinese and German crime victims

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The influence of cultural factors on mental health is not disputed in general – but elaborated research approaches are still lacking. We investigate cultural influences not only by nationality but also by value orientation (modern vs. traditional). A cross-cultural comparison with Chinese and German crime victims included an assessment of value orientation according to Schwartz's theory (Schwartz, 1994) of personal values.


Chinese and German adult crime victims were assessed. By means of structural equation multi-sample analysis, data of the two groups were compared.


Traditional (conformity, benevolence, customs orientation) and modern values (achievement, hedonism, stimulation), traumatic exposure, posttraumatic stress (PTS), and two self-perceived interpersonal mediator processes (disclosure intentions, social acknowledgement as a victim) were assessed by self-report measures in 130 Chinese and 151 German crime victims.


The two patterns of prediction for PTS differed between the countries: In the German sample both value types but in the Chinese sample only traditional values were directly or indirectly predictive of PTS. Traditional values inhibited social acknowledgement as a victim in China and Germany. In Germany, traditional values were related to increased PTS severity. Modern values predicted social acknowledgement as well as lower symptoms in Germany, but not in China.


The study shows cultural and interpersonal factors that may contribute to the development of PTSD that are under-researched in contemporary psychology and psychotherapy.

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