Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: Development of a Measure of Collectivism Among Asians

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Abstract

Objectives: Collectivism can contextualize subjective cultural experiences, yet operationalization and measurement approaches for understanding this construct among Asians and Asian Americans have been discrepant. Inconsistency has resulted from diverse levels of analyses, unidimensional versus multidimensional approaches to organizing related subconstructs, and different degrees of cultural specificity of existing instruments. The Brief Collectivism Questionnaire (BCQ) was developed to address these limitations in assessing general collectivism in Asian cultures, while capturing its diverse attitudinal and behavioral manifestations, using a bifactor framework. Method: Data were collected from 2 samples of Asian American and Asian international students (N1 = 267: Mage = 20.4, 48.7% women; N2 = 375: Mage = 19.0, 55.6% women). The structure underlying collectivism was examined in exploratory (Study 1) and confirmatory (Study 2) factor analyses. Correlational and hierarchical multiple regression analyses tested the BCQ’s validity, particularly the extent to which broadband collectivism and content-specific subdomains overlapped with existing measures of the construct (Study 3). Results: A bifactor structure with 1 general factor of collectivism and 3 specific factors (Prosocial Motivations, Maintaining Harmony, and Concern for Face) demonstrated the best fit for the data and supported the conceptual framework. The BCQ showed adequate internal consistency reliability, convergent and discriminant validity, and concurrent and incremental validity predicting depression and openness toward treatment seeking. Conclusions: The BCQ appears to be a multidimensional, psychometrically sound measure that assesses broadband and narrowband contents of collectivism among Asians. The bifactor structure integrates diverse conceptualizations of individual-level collectivism, and clarifies how this construct is related to adjustment outcomes.

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