International Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) edition:22 location:Reims, France date:15-19 July 2014
Cross-cultural findings converge on the cultural patterning of self. While relatedness is more salient and adaptive in so-called cultures
of interdependence (like Turkey), independent cultures (like Belgium) tend to foreground and reward personal autonomy. Our
research asks an understudied question of whether and how selves acculturate at school. By extending Kağıtçıbaşı’s (2005) Theory of
Self to acculturating youth, we studied minority adolescents’ self-orientations in relation to teachers. We focused on the self-teacher
relation since school is a key context of acculturation outside the family.
In a first cross-cultural study with Turkish (N=166) and Belgian student samples (N=280), we established different cultural patterns
of autonomous and related selves. As expected, Turkish youth stressed relatedness more, and autonomy less in their relationship with
teachers. Moreover, relatedness with teachers predicted (social) adjustment in Turkish students, whereas autonomy was crossculturally
adaptive for (personal) adjustment.
A second study involved (mostly low SES) bicultural Turkish-Belgian youth (N=138) and their Belgian classmates in Belgian
secondary school (N=686). In this study, we found that, Turkish-Belgian youth, as compared with their Belgian peers, had lower
levels of Autonomy, yet similar levels of Relatedness with their teacher. In both groups, low Autonomy and high Relatedness with the
teacher contributed to pupils’ Behavioral School Engagement. Similarly, Emotional School Engagement was associated with high
Relatedness in both Turkish Belgian and Belgian pupils but it was associated with low autonomy in Turkish Belgians only. We
underline the importance of measuring situated selves in acculturation context and discuss the acculturation of selves in terms of