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Personality, Threat, and Cognitive and Emotional Reactions to Stressful Intercultural Situations


Address correspondence to: Karen van Oudenhoven-van der Zee, Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, 9712 TS Groningen, The Netherlands. Telephone: +31 50 3636352; telefax:+31 50 3636304. E-mail:


The present study examined individual differences in appraisal of and affective reactions to intercultural situations. A sample of 160 students filled out the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) and participated in an experiment in which they received a description of an intercultural situation that was either high or low in potential stressfulness. Individuals with high scores on the intercultural dimensions appraised the potentially stressful situation more positively and showed more positive and less negative reactions to the situation than did individuals with low scores on the MPQ. Interestingly, following a Terror Management Intervention (TMI), individual differences in emotional reactions to intercultural situations disappeared. The results could only partially be replicated using a general personality questionnaire, suggesting that these findings have at least some specificity to intercultural personality dimensions.