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Science self-concept and valuing science: A cross-cultural analysis of their relation among students from Western and East Asian countries
Schütte, K.

Science self-concept and valuing science: A cross-cultural analysis of their relation among students from Western and East Asian countries

Social Psychology of Education. 10.1007/s11218-015-9311-0

Devaluing an academic domain is a potential means of alleviating the psychological discomfort that results from the inconsistency of a low domain-specific self-concept of ability and great value attached to the domain. Such motivated devaluation of a domain is expected to be stronger in cultural contexts that promote a relatively greater focus on striving for a unique and consistent self than on the fulfillment of relevant others’ expectations. Moreover, motivated devaluation is expected to be stronger the closer the value construct is tied to the self. Multiple group structural equation models tested whether students’ self-concepts of their science ability differentially predicted the values students attach to science in Western and East Asian subsamples of the Programme for International Student Assessment. Science self-concept predicted value of science in all countries; however, the effects were stronger in Western than East Asian countries. Moreover, effects were stronger for the psychologically more proximal personal than for the more distal general value of science. Results are thus in line with the proposition that the value students attach to an academic domain in part results from a motivated process driven by their domain-specific self-concept of ability.