A comparative study of social attitudes of adolescents in Glasgow and in Taipei

Hwang, Chien-hou (1973) A comparative study of social attitudes of adolescents in Glasgow and in Taipei. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In this study, over 900 adolescent pupils from secondary schools in the Glasgow area, Scotland, and in Taipei, Republic of China, were tested. The sample was equally divided by sex with the age ranging from 12 to 15. The objective of this research was to make a comparative study of their social attitudes. Three psychological instruments were used: a semantic differential, an incomplete sentence blank and a set of four TAT pictures. They were selected because of their "culturally fair" contents and their suitability for group administration. The fact that these tests contained little or no verbal content and required, therefore, only a small amount of translation was regarded as an important criterion because translation often causes a great deal of complication in cross-cultural studies. The results of the three tests from the two groups of adolescents were analysed and inter-group comparisons were made (Chapter V). Equal emphasis was given to both group differences and similarities. This is, in fact, one important feature of this research. Many investigators who have been engaged in cross-cultural studies tend to focus their attention on the differences between groups. Not infrequently a statistically significant inter-group difference has been over emphasised and interpreted as a wide discrepancy between two groups even though the actual difference is quantitatively very small. In fact, information about some group differences and that which is related to group similarities are equally useful. But evidence of group similarities could be specially helpful in eliminating some of the arbitrary inter-group barriers and in bringing peoples from various cultures closer to one another. The graph presentations of the semantic differential ratings give a very clear view of both group differences and similarities. The interpretations of the major findings were presented in Chapter VI. While the importance of childhood experiences in relation to the development of attitudes was fully recognised, the effect of school education on attitude formation was also stressed. It is hoped that this may give school teachers some insight into the fact that development is a continuous process throughout the entire period of life and make them aware of their possible contribution in guiding the young to develop healthy attitudes. When the data from the three instruments were put together, some important results were revealed. The Chinese and Scottish adolescents showed many common characteristics: (I) they both showed positive attitudes towards people in general, towards the world, and towards the future; (2) they had common perceptual predispositions in reacting to ambiguous stimuli; (3) they tended to use the semantic differential scales in a similar manner; and (4) they both had the capacity to subdue themselves to rules and restrictions when required. The two groups were also different from each other in several aspects: the Chinese tended to have global, whole perception whereas the Scots tended to perceive parts; the Chinese often adopted a general, abstract approach in dealing with their problems while the Scottish pupils adopted more frequently specific and concrete approaches; and the Chinese showed a greater tendency to be dependent and to have greater self control when their Scottish counterparts gave greater value to independence and individual freedom. One more important finding was that the two languages, English and Chinese, had a very similar semantic structure when the data of the semantic differential of the two groups were factor analysed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: R W Pickford
Keywords: Social psychology
Date of Award: 1973
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1973-74043
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/74043

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