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Author’s Introduction

This paper introduces the development of the Cross-Cultural (Chinese) Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI) as a culturally relevant measure for personality assessment in collectivistic cultures. The CPAI was developed as a joint effort of psychologists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the late 1980s. In response to the critique of the imposed etic approach in cross-cultural personality assessment, the team considered it timely to develop an indigenous measure suitable for the Chinese people who constituted at least one-fourth of the world’s population. The team built on their experience in the methodology of the adaptation and standardization of the Chinese MMPI to design a comprehensive indigenous instrument covering personality characteristics for normal as well as diagnostic assessment of the Chinese people. In addition to universal personality traits, the CPAI included indigenously derived scales that assessed the relational aspects of personality. The cross-cultural relevance of the CPAI was assessed by examining the convergence and divergence of the CPAI with the NEO PI-R (Costa, & McCrae, 1992) measuring the Five Factor Model, which was claimed to cover universal personality dimensions. A joint factor analysis of the CPAI and the NEO PI-R in both Chinese and Singaporean samples showed that the CPAI factor of Interpersonal Relatedness (IR) did not load on any of the Big Five factors, whereas none of the CPAI scales loaded on the Openness to Experience factor of the NEO PI-R. In the present article, we reported three studies that illustrated the usefulness of these indigenous scales in Chinese organizational settings. The Interpersonal Relatedness factor scales on the CPAI contributed additional value beyond scales from the universal factors of Social Potency and Dependability in profiling MBA students at senior-level positions, in assessing hotel workers’ customer orientation, and in predicting senior executives’ leadership behaviors.

Author Recommends

1. Cheung, F. M., Leung, K., Fan, R. M., Song, W. Z., Zhang, J. X. & Zhang, J. P. (1996). Development of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI). Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, 27, 181–199.

This article described the methods and procedures used in developing the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI), reports initial findings on the reliability of the inventory, and discusses related issues in cross-cultural personality assessment.

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., Leung, K., Ward, C., & Leong, F. (2003). The English version of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 34, 433–452.

The article examined the structure of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI), an indigenous Chinese assessment instrument, in two English-speaking samples. In Study 1, the English version of the CPAI was developed and administered to a sample of 675 Singaporean Chinese (aged 18–73 years). In Study 2, the English version CPAI was administered to a Caucasian American sample (n = 137). Factor analysis showed that the factor structure of the English version CPAI was similar to the structure of the original Chinese version in the normative sample.

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., Zhang, J. X., Leung, K., Leong, F., & Yeh, K. H. (2008). Relevance of openness as a personality dimension in Chinese culture: Aspects of its cultural relevance. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39, 81–108.

The Openness factor was missing from the original Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI). We used a combined emic-etic approach to generate six culturally relevant Openness scales. Joint factor analyses showed that four of the CPAI-2 Openness scales loaded with the Openness factor of the NEO-FFI. This article also presents the factor structure of the CPAI-2 and its joint factor analysis with the NEO-FFI in the re-standardization sample.

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., & Zhang, J. X. (2004). What is “Chinese” personality?: Subgroup differences in the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI-2). Acta Psychologica Sinica, 36, 491–499.

This paper reported subgroup differences in the CPAI 2 normative sample to illustrate variations and continuity of personality characteristics within the same culture. Sex and age differences on mean scores of the CPAI-2 scales are consistent with expected variations associated with socialization and developmental stages. There is no consistent pattern of variations across Hong Kong and different geographical regions within Mainland China. Within culture and cross-cultural differences illustrate the continuity of individual differences in personality, and the dialectics of emic and etic constructs.

Kwong, J. Y. Y., & Cheung, F. M. (2003). Prediction of performance facets using specific personality traits in the Chinese context. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 99–110.

This study examined how personality variables relate differentially to interpersonal and personal facets. Supervisory-level employees completed the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory and provided their recent performance appraisal records. Results indicated that personality traits that relate to interpersonal orientation (e.g., Harmony and Leadership in the CPAI) better predicted interpersonal versus personal contextual behaviors, whereas a trait associated with personal virtues such as moral obligation and loyalty to group (CPAI’s Veraciousness) predicted the personal but not the interpersonal domain.

Cheung, F. M., Leung, K., Zhang, J. X., Sun, H. F., Gan, Y. Q., Song, W. Z., & Xie, D. (2001). Indigenous Chinese personality construct: Is the Five Factor Model complete? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32, 407–433.

This paper investigated the universality and sufficiency of the 5-factor model in the Chinese context. The Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI) were employed among Chinese students, Chinese Managers, and Hawaiian students. A comprehensive analysis showed that the 6-factor models were superior to the 5-factor models and that the Interpersonal Relatedness factor which was defined only by CPAI scales could not be consistently explained by a combination of the Big Five factors.

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., & Zhang, J. X. (2004). Convergent validity of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2: Preliminary findings with a normative sample. Journal of Personality Assessment, 82, 92–103.

This study examined the convergent validity of the CPAI, an indigenously constructed measure, by comparing its patterns of correlations with the MMPI-2 (Butcher et al., 2001). Results provide preliminary support for the convergence between most of the CPAI clinical scales and the relevant MMPI-2 scales. The CPAI personality scales further illustrated the patterns of personality features associated with the MMPI-2 scales in a Chinese cultural context.

Cheung, S. F., Cheung, F. M., Howard, R., & Lim, Y. H. (2006). Personality across ethnic divide in Singapore: Are “Chinese traits” uniquely Chinese? Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 467–477.

In this study, the English version of the Cross-Cultural (Chinese) Personality Assessment Inventory-2 (CPAI-2) was administered to three samples representing the main ethnic groups in Singapore. Factor analysis and Procrustes rotation showed that the four CPAI-2 factors, Social Potency, Dependability, Accommodation, and Interpersonal Relatedness, could generally be recovered.

Online Materials

Cross-cultural (Chinese) Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI):

This website indexes a description for the Cross-cultural (Chinese) Personality Assessment Inventory – 2 (CPAI-2) and the Cross-cultural (Chinese) Personality Assessment Inventory – Adolescent Version (CPAI-A) in English and Chinese. We provide directions for researchers to request for research use of these measures that will contribute to building up the database on the validity of the CPAI-2 or CPAI-A.

The website also provides related references including publications by our research team and other researchers who used the CPAI-2 and CPAI-A.

Sample Syllabus

Seminar on Personality Assessment with the CPAI across Western and Asian Cultures

Overview

The aim of this seminar is to introduce students to universal and culture-specific personality. Personality models, research paradigms, and cross-cultural issues of personality assessment are discussed. The Cross-cultural Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI-2) is cited as an example of the combined etic-emic approach to develop indigenous personality assessment. The program of research to validate the CPAI-2, especially its utility in applied settings, is reviewed.

Course Format and Readings

This seminar on personality assessment consists of lectures, class discussion, readings, small group activities, and a proposed group project. There are some required readings. In addition, each student will be responsible for presenting one extra journal article.

Course Requirements and Grading

The primary requirement of the course is to do all required and additional readings in preparation for the discussions, to present a journal report in class outside of the assigned readings, and to work together in small groups to develop a research project. All students are expected to participate thoughtfully and actively in the class discussions. Final grades will be based on the amount and quality of student participation in general (20%), individual presentation of the journal report (40%), and a group presentation (including powerpoint and handout) that proposes a new study (40%) that answers an interesting question on cross-cultural personality assessment, based on the current state of knowledge on this topic.

Course Projects

Individual Presentation.  Using powerpoint, outline the journal article that you were assigned and present it to the class, as a teacher would present the material to his or her class. State clearly what the rationale was for the research, what literature was pertinent, what the hypotheses were, how the study was done, what the results were, and what the authors felt the primary contribution was. Then, offer your own assessment of the research, as a reviewer would. What were its strengths and what were it weaknesses? Did you spot any alternative explanations or confounds? Do you think the findings would generalize to other manipulations, measures, and populations (if not, why not)? What further studies would you suggest doing based on this research?

Group Research Project.  The presentation of the group research project should consist of a powerpoint that includes: (i) a title page; (ii) a brief introduction, citing relevant research; (iii) the hypothesis, stated clearly; (iv) a method section that the reader could use to replicate the study; (v) a graph or table of the expected results; (vi) a brief discussion section that indicates, if the results supported the hypothesis, what the theoretical and practical significance would be for the field; and (vii) a reference section. The group should also hand in a 150-word (maximum) abstract. Your final grading will be based on a composite score of your presentation and your seminar contributions.

All students should read the following articles prior to the beginning of class:

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., Zhang, J. X., Leung, K., Leong, F. T. L., & Yeh, K. H. (2008). Relevance of openness as a personality dimension in Chinese culture. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39, 81–108.

Cheung, F. M., Leung, K., Fan, R., Song, W. Z., Zhang, J. X., & Zhang, J. P. (1996). Development of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI). Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, 27, 181–199.

Church, A. T. (2001). Personality measurement in cross-cultural perspective. Journal of Personality, 69, 979–1006.

Van de Vijver, F., & Leung, K. (1997). Methods and data analysis for cross-cultural research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Each Student is Responsible For Reading and Presenting One of These

Individual article (or cluster of articles), from which each of you chooses one (each student needs to choose a different article). If you would like to choose something not on this list, get lecturer’s approval:

Butcher, J. N., Cheung, F. M., & Lim, J. (2003). Use of the MMPI-2 with Asian populations. Psychological Assessment, 15, 248–256.

Chan, B. (2005). From West to East: The impact of culture on personality and group dynamics. Cross-Cultural Management, 12, 31–45.

Chen, S. X., Bond, M. H., & Cheung, F. M. (2005). Personality correlates of social axioms: Are beliefs nested within personality? Personality and Individual Differences, 40, 509–519.

Cheung, F. M. (2004). Use of Western- and indigenously-developed personality tests in Asia. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 53, 173–191.

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., & Leung, F. (2008). Clinical validity of the Cross-Cultural (Chinese) Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI-2) in the assessment of substance use disorders among Chinese mean. Psychological Assessment, 20, 103–113.

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., Leung, K., Ward, C., & Leong, F. (2003). The English version of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 34, 433–452.

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., Wada, S., & Zhang, J. X. (2003). Indigenous measures of personality assessment in Asian countries: A review. Psychological Assessment, 15, 280–289.

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., & Zhang, J.X. (2004a). What is “Chinese” personality?: Subgroup differences in the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI-2). Acta Psychologica Sinica, 36, 491–499.

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., & Zhang, J.X. (2004b). Convergent validity of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2: Preliminary findings with a normative sample. Journal of Personality Assessment, 82, 92–103.

Cheung, F. M. & Leung, K. (1998). Indigenous personality measures: Chinese examples. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29, 233–248.

Cheung, F. M., Leung, K., Zhang, J. X., Sun, H. F., Gan, Y. Q., Song, W. Z., & Xie, D. (2001). Indigenous Chinese personality construct: Is the Five Factor Model complete? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32, 407–433.

Cheung, S. F., Cheung, F. M., Howard, R., & Lim, Y. H. (2006). Personality across ethnic divide in Singapore: Are “Chinese traits” uniquely Chinese? Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 467–477.

Fu, H., Watkins, D., & Hui, E., K. P. (2004). Personality correlates of the disposition towards interpersonal forgiveness: A Chinese perspective. International Journal of Psychology, 39, 305–316.

Heine, S. J., & Buchtel, E. E. (2009). Personality: The universal and the culturally specific. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 369–394.

Ho, M. Y., Cheung, F. M., & Cheung,S. F. (2008). Personality and life events as predictors of adolescents’ life satisfaction: Do life events mediate the link between personality and life satisfaction? Social Indicators Research, 89, 457–471.

Kwong, J Y. Y., & Cheung, F. M. (2003). Prediction of performance facets using specific personality traits in the Chinese context. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 99–110.

Leung, K., Cheung, F. M., Zhang, J. X., Song, W. Z., & Xie, D. (1997). The five factor model of personality in China. In K. Leung, Y. Kashima, U. Kim, & S. Yamaguchi (Eds.), Progress in Asian social psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 231–244). Singapore: John Wiley.

Lin, E. J., & Church, A. T. (2004). Are indigenous Chinese personality dimensions culture-specific? An investigation of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory in Chinese American and European American samples. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35, 586–605.

Liu, L. A., Friedman, R. A., & Chi, S. C. (2005). ‘Ren Qing’ versus the ‘Big Five’: The role of culturally sensitive measures of individual difference in distributive negotiations. Management and Organizational Review, 1, 225–247.

McCrae, R. R., Yik, M. S. M., Trapnell, P. D., Bond, M. H., & Paulhus, D. L. (1998). Interpreting personality profiles across cultures: Bilingual, acculturation, and peer rating studies of Chinese undergraduates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1041–1055.

Sun, H. F., & Bond, M. H. (2000). Choice of influence tactics: Effects of the target person’s behavioral patterns, status and the personality influencer. In Li, J.T., Tusk, A. S., & Weldon. E. (Eds.), Management and organizations in the Chinese context (pp. 283–302). London: MacMillan.

Yang, K. S. (1997). Theories and research in Chinese personality: An indigenous approach. In H. S. R. Kao & D. Sinha (Eds.), Asian perspectives on psychology (pp. 236–262). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Yik, M. S., & Bond, M. H. (1993). Exploring the dimensions of Chinese person perception with indigenous and imported constructs: Creating a culturally balanced scale. International Journal of Psychology, 28, 75–95.

Example: Topics for Lecture & Discussion

Week I: Introduction & Overview  Introduction (1) the brief history of cross-cultural personality assessment, (2) international research on the Five Factor Model, (3) the application of etic and emic approaches in the field of personality assessment, (4) indigenous research on personality assessment in Asia, (5) the development of CPAI, and (6) the application of the CPAI/CPAI-2 in applied settings.

Readings for all:

Cheung, F. M., Cheung, S. F., Wada, S., & Zhang, J. X. (2003). Indigenous measures of personality assessment in Asian countries: A review. Psychological Assessment, 15, 280–289.

Cheung, F. M., Leung, K., Fan, R., Song, W. Z., Zhang, J. X., & Zhang, J. P. (1996). Development of the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI). Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, 27, 181–199.

Church, A. T. (2001). Personality measurement in cross-cultural perspective. Journal of Personality, 69, 979–1006.

Van de Vijver, F., & Leung, K. (1997). Methods and data analysis for cross-cultural research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Week II:  Individual presentations, and group presentations.

Optional

Focus Questions

  • 1
     What are the problems of the imposed etic approach in personality assessment?
  • 2
     What is the primary content of a combined emic-etic approach used in personality assessment?
  • 3
     Why should the indigenous dimensions of personality be emphasized beyond the classic Big-Five factors?
  • 4
     How would you evaluate newly developed measures of personality traits in a non-Western culture?
  • 5
     What is the main contribution of the CPAI scales in the field of personality assessment?
  • 6
     What is the added value of the emic CPAI scales in applied settings?

Seminar/Project Idea

We designed a classroom demonstration on personality assessment, and request students (or a small group, for instance, 2–5 persons) develop a mini scale to assess one culturally-relevant personality construct. We expect this classroom activity to assist students to understand the meaning of an emic personality trait that reflects a culturally-relevant construct in their own life.