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Study: What influences a person's psychological boundaries?
2018-12-27 09:33:07

To understand how the culture of a particular society affects the formation of personal sovereignty, Professor Sofya Nartova-Bochaver of the HSE School of Psychology professor worked with colleagues from the State University of Yerevan and Xiamen University of China to conduct cross-cultural comparative research, EurekAlert reports. 

In all, 780 people were surveyed: 361 men and 419 women, of whom 223 were from Armenia, 277 from China, and 280 from Russia. The respondents also belonged to two age groups: adolescents averaging 13 years of age and youth aged 21.

The study focused on Armenia, China, and Russia because the countries share a history of socialism and collectivism. 

All respondents were asked to complete a questionnaire designed in 2010 specifically to determine the level of personal sovereignty. Participants either agreed or disagreed with 67 statements related to the six parameters of personal sovereignty. Each statement described a situation that the respondents might find unpleasant or provocative. For example: 'Even as a child I was sure nobody touched my toys when I was absent,' or 'I often felt offended when adults punished me with slapping and cuffing.'

The results indicate that the surrounding culture does not influence overall level of personal sovereignty. However, individual parameters varied widely between countries. For example, Chinese respondents were most apt to defend their tastes and values, Russians expressed the strongest sovereignty with regard to their bodies, and Armenians were the least concerned about belongings sovereignty.

By age group, youth had a higher level of personal sovereignty than adolescents did. This was reflected primarily in attitudes towards personal territory and time habits sovereignty.

The study found no significant gender based differences. However, women had more clearly defined psychological boundaries regarding their time habits and values, while men were more concerned with territory sovereignty.