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Individualistic and Collectivistic
cultural differences in relationships
· Hofstede (1984) outlined the main
differences between individualist and
collectivist cultures.
· Individualist cultures - emphasise self-
interest and the interest of one's immediate
family, personal autonomy (independence),
initiative and achievement.
· Collectivist cultures ­ emphasise loyalty to
the group, interdependence and the belief
that group decisions are more important
than individual ones.…read more

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Differences between individualistic
(Western) and collectivistic (Non-Western)
Individualist Collectivist
Romantic/Sexual Based on being "in Arranged by
relationships love". Individual family on basis of
chooses partner. social status
Attitude to Seen as essential to Not seen as the
romantic love happiness within basis for decision
marriage to marry
Friendship Larger number of Fewer friendships
superficial friends but very close ones…read more

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Commentary on Individualist
vs Collectivist relationships
· Although we might expect relationships based on love to
produce more compatible partners, this may not
necessarily be the case. Parents may be in a better position
to judge compatibility in the long-term, whereas young
people may be `blinded by love' and overlook areas of
personal incompatibility that will become apparent later.
· However, contrary to this traditional view, in Xiaohe and
Whyte's study freedom of mate choice appeared to
promote marital stability rather than instability.…read more

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Culture and Romance
· Marrying for love is seen
as a vital component of
long-term relationships in
the West, but for Chinese
couples, romance and love
are less important and are
only considered in the
light of responsibility
towards parents and the
· Spontaneous expression of
love, especially in terms of
sex outside marriage, is
not considered
appropriate in Chinese
society (Ho, 1986)…read more

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Moore and Leung (2001)
· Tested this predicted
cultural difference in an
Australian study. They
compared 212 Anglo-
Australian students (born
in Oz, NZ or UK) and 106
students (born in Hong
Kong or China) to see if
the `romantic
conservatism' of Chinese
students would manifest
itself in different attitudes
toward romance and
different romantic styles.…read more

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