Behavioral manifestations of modesty

Xiaohua Sylvia Chen, Michael Harris Bond, Bacon Chan, Donghui Tang, Emma E. Buchtel

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Three studies examined the social manifestations of modesty in Chinese and Canadian cultures, conceptualizing and operationalizing it as a self-presentation tactic with communal functions. In Study 1, the authors developed a self-report Modest Behavior Scale (MBS) to tap the behavioral aspects of modesty and identified three factors: self-effacement, other-enhancement, and avoidance of attention-seeking. The authors validated the scale by establishing its nomological network with trait modesty, individuation, independent and interdependent self-construals, traditionality, and modernity, in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, which are culturally different regions of China. In Study 2, the MBS was supplemented with additional items, and a different set of predictors, including values, was used to predict the three factors in both Hong Kong and Beijing, China. In Study 3, we administered the MBS in Vancouver, Canada, adding emic items generated from this Canadian sample and using values and other variables as predictors. Gender differences are discussed in terms of the role played by modest self-presentations in promoting intragroup harmony in different cultural settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-626
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


  • Independent and interdependent self-construals
  • Individuation
  • Modest behavior
  • Modesty
  • Traditionality and modernity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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