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The Role of Dispositional Traits in Accounting for Country and Ethnic Group Differences on Adjustment


  • We thank Hiroshi Yamada, Satoru Furuya, Juri Homma, Yumi Ishii, and Jamie Louie for their assistance in the data collection and Kemberlee Bonnet, Joanne Chung, Jung Yun Jang, Hyi Sung Hwang, Jessie Wilson, and Caroline Jones for their assistance in the general laboratory program.

concerning this article should be addressed to David Matsumoto, Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94132. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Country and ethnic group differences on adjustment have been demonstrated numerous times, and the source of these differences has been typically interpreted as cultural. We report two studies in which country (Study 1) and ethnic group (Study 2) differences on depression, anxiety, optimism versus pessimism, well-being, and self-esteem are mediated by dispositional traits. These findings provide an alternative explanation for previously reported country and ethnic group differences on these variables and encourage researchers to consider multiple sources, including traits, in their models and studies.