Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Value Change and Post-Modernism: A Preliminary Study of a German Sample

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Value Change and Post-Modernism: A Preliminary Study of a German Sample

Article excerpt

This study is part of an extensive project investigating the relationship between social change and personal change in the shaping of personality in the post-modern world, carried out in different European and American countries (Jiménez-López, Roales-Nieto, García-Vargas, Vallejo, Lorente, & Granados, under review; Jiménez-López, Roales-Nieto, Vallejo, & Preciado, under review; Jiménez-López, Segura, Moreno, & Lorente-Molina, 2012; Roales-Nieto, 2009; Roales-Nieto, Preciado, Malespín, & Jiménez-López, 2013a, b; Roales-Nieto & Segura, 2010). The aim of this project is to verify the psychological scope of the change in values predicted by the theory of intergenerational value change (TCIV- Abramson & Inglehart, 1992; Inglehart, 1977, 1997) in population samples from different countries with different cultural characteristics, using a methodology allowing participants to report personal values whilst being affected by social desirability to the minimum possible extent.

There is a broad consensus in the fields of philosophy, social psychology and sociology regarding the notable change in values in countries industrialised since the 1960s-1970s. From a social point of view, this change is related to the transition from the modern world, which characterised our society in the last two centuries, to postmodernism (e.g. Bauman, 2001; Beck, 1998; Giddens, 1990; Inglehart, 1977, 1997; Inglehart & Klingemann, 1996; Lipovetski, 2006; Tranter & Western, 2010). This evolution has taken place simultaneously with that of historical determining factors which have dramatically transformed our society over the past 50 years, and are primarily related © InternatIonal Journal of Psychology PsychologIcal theraPy, 2013, 13, 3 to economic development, an increase in well-being and security, urbanisation and the expansion of the media. Widespread opinion maintains that these circumstances have contributed to a transition from modern values (positivist, secular-rational) towards postmodern ones (related to self-expression and personal development) or from the value of physical and material security to the value of psychological well-being and personal autonomy (Abramson & Inglehart, 1992; Inglehart, 1977; Inglehart & Klingemann, 1996; Tranter & Western, 2010).

The profile of personal values which make up a society and its tendency for change has been extensively studied since the 1960s. Drawing on the intergenerational change theory, this shift in values -referred to by Inglehart (1977) as the silent revolution- has been interpreted as a substitution of materialistic values for post-materialistic values as those which drive our lives. However, other authors have questioned this theory and the value categories deriving from it, arguing that it is not a substitution which can be seen but a co-existence of values (for example Jiménez-López et al, under review; Klages 1985, 1988; Klein & Pötschke 2000; Roales-Nieto, 2009; Roales-Nieto & Segura, 2010; Roales-Nieto et al., 2013a,b).

The empirical data on which social change theories are based has been obtained from extensive, regular surveys carried out in various countries (mainly the World Value Survey and Eurobarometer but also the Schwartz Value Survey and the Speyerer Werteforschung). The tools used to gather information in these surveys generally consist in structured interviews in the format of closed-answer questionnaires. That is to say, the participants must choose or score their own values from a list of given values or stated value indicators (for example Schmidt, Bamberg, Davidov, Herrmann, & Schwartz, 2007); these surveys are based on the belief that all participant value ideas can be found on said lists.

With the aim of exploring if the participants' responses fit with the value index offered by said lists, Roales-Nieto (2003) developed a questionnaire with open questions which obtained information about what participants considered to be personal values and what values they felt were guiding factors for other people, without having to keep within a given list of possibilities. …

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