Anderson, C.A. (1999). 

Attributional style, depression, and loneliness: A cross-cultural comparison of American and Chinese students. 

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 482-499.


Completing measures of attributional style, depression, and loneliness were 198 college students from the East China Normal University, Shanghai, China and 193 from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Students from China accepted more responsibility for interpersonal and noninterpersonal failures than did U.S. students. They also took less credit for interpersonal success than U.S. students. These relatively maladaptive attributional styles by Chinese students accounted for much of their relatively higher scores on depression and loneliness. The sample differences in attributional style fit well with previous research showing that the U.S. is a relatively more "independent" culture and that China is a relatively more "interdependent" culture. Finally, the observed relations between attributional style and depression and loneliness were very similar across these two samples, perhaps reflecting cross-cultural generality of fundamental human needs for feeling efficacious. Implications for attribution theories and models of cross-cultural differences were discussed.

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© 1999 by Craig A. Anderson