Relative deprivation (RD) is the judgment that one or one’s ingroup is worse off compared with some relevant standard coupled with feelings of dissatisfaction, anger, and resentment. RD predicts a wide range of outcomes, but it is unclear whether this relationship is moderated by national cultural differences. Therefore, in the first study, we used national assessments of individual-collectivism and power distance to code 303 effect sizes from 31 different countries with 200,578 participants. RD predicted outcomes ranging from life satisfaction to collective action more strongly within individualistic nations. A second survey of 6,112 undergraduate university students from 28 different countries confirmed the predictive value of RD. Again, the relationship between individual RD and different outcomes was stronger for students who lived in more individualistic countries. Group-based RD also predicted political trust more strongly for students who lived in countries marked by lower power distance. RD effects, although consistent predictors, are culturally bounded. In particular, RD is more likely to motivate reactions within individualistic countries that emphasize individual agency and achievement as a source of self-worth.

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Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Department of Psychology

Smith, H.J. (Heather J.), Ryan, D.A. (Desiree A.), Jaurique, A. (Alexandria), Pettigrew, T.F. (Thomas F.), Jetten, J. (Jolanda), Ariyanto, A. (Amarina), … Wohl, M. (2018). Cultural Values Moderate the Impact of Relative Deprivation. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. doi:10.1177/0022022118784213