Three components of individualism



In this article, following an assumption that individualism and collectivism are separate factors, we have further established that three central components of individualism can be distinguished. In the first part of the article we examined whether the three proposed components of individualism—autonomy, mature self-responsibility, and uniqueness—can be distinguished from each other in one cultural context, Estonia. A new scale was developed to measure the three aspects of individualism which demonstrated both the reasonable internal-consistency reliability as well as convergent and divergent validity with several other measures of individualism and collectivism and related constructs. In the second part of the article we studied whether individualism generalizes across specific contexts or domains of social relationships, namely, across relations with family and close others; friends and peers; state and nation. The results of the three-mode principal component analysis showed that the individualistic tendencies of the respondents did not differ much while measured toward the three types of social relation. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.