Taiwanese Parents’ Reaction to the Achievement of Their Children: Vertical Distinctiveness Versus Horizontal Distinctiveness


In Confucian societies, one who has any achievement is always basking his/her Big Self, especially to his/her parents. However, since the Eastern cultures value Vertical Distinctiveness (VD) more than Horizontal Distinctiveness (HD), it is very possible that parents would feel more glorious (having more face) when their children achieve VD than HD and might have very different reactions when their children achieve VD rather than HD.
Using scenario experimental method, 269 high school students' parents in Taiwan (Taipei) participated in this study and were randomly assigned into a version of scenarios describing their child who achieved in winning either a VD (national scientific contest) or a HD (national singing contest). The results showed that while the parents of VD would encourage their child to devote time to preparing for the contest; parents of HD would tend to complain that their child might spend too much time on preparing for this contest instead of studying. Furthermore, comparing to HD, when the achievement of their child was a VD, parents not only felt having more face, but also would be more likely to encourage their children to pursue their career in this field and felt the achievement matched their expectation for their child as well. Parents would feel more sorry if their children developed a future in the field of their HD.

Author Information
Kuei-Hsiang Han, Tamkang University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2013
Stream: Psychology

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