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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cross cultural differences in locus of control, field dependence-independence and uncertainty orientation among Canadians and Chinese Lau, Siu-Ling Bonita


The present study is a cross cultural study comparing North Americans and Chinese on field dependence-independence, locus of control and uncertainty orientation. The relationships among these constructs and cultural based differences in those relationships were also explored. Chinese were speculated to be more field dependent, external locus of control and certainty-oriented than North Americans. This study was the first exploratory investigation of a suggested model, which provided a perspective of how field dependence-independence, locus of control, uncertainty orientation, moral judgement and learned helplessness interact. The study may also have some contribution to broadening our view on how Chinese express themselves on the three cognitive constructs mentioned above. A sample of 39 Hong Kong Chinese and 41 Canadian college students were selected according to their cultural backgrounds. The results partially supported cultural differences in locus of control and uncertainty orientation. A strong cultural difference was found on the two subscales of the locus of control instrument and the two component measures for uncertainty orientation. Cultural differences for field dependence-independence was not confirmed. Results concerning the interrelationships among these cognitive constructs suggested a moderate association between locus of control and uncertainty orientation for Canadian subjects, but not for Chinese subjects. No other significant correlations among these constructs was obtained in this study. Because of the methodological problems inherent in the instruments, it is difficult to interpret the obtained results unambiguously, especially for the Hong Kong group. Further empirical work should be done before any firm conclusion can be drawn form the current results. Some implications for future cross-cultural studies were also discussed.

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