The Role of Dialectical Self and Bicultural Identity Integration in Psychological Adjustment

Xiaohua Sylvia Chen, Verónica Benet-Martínez, Wesley C.H. Wu, Ben C.P. Lam, Michael Harris Bond

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: We applied the concept of naïve dialecticism (Peng & Nisbett,), which characterizes East Asians' greater tendency to encompass contradictory, ever-changing, and interrelated features of an entity, to bicultural contexts and examined its effects on psychological well-being across various acculturating groups. Method: We administered questionnaire measures of the dialectical self, bicultural identity integration (BII; Benet-Martínez & Haritatos, 2005), and well-being to Hong Kong Chinese (N=213) in Study 1 and Mainland Chinese (N=239) in Study 2. In Study 3, a 4-week longitudinal study was conducted among Hong Kong Chinese (N=173) to test the relationships of these variables over time. We then extended similar measures to new immigrants from Mainland China (N=67) in Study 4 and Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong (N=153) in Study 5. Results: Five studies converged to show that psychological adjustment was positively related to BII, but negatively related to the dialectical self. In Studies 1-3, dialecticism mediated the effect of BII on psychological adjustment among Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese bicultural individuals. Conclusions: Our findings reveal the deleterious effects of tolerance for contradiction on well-being and differentiate biculturalism patterns of immigration-based and globalization-based acculturation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-75
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • Acculturation
  • Bicultural Identity Integration
  • Dialectical self
  • Globalization
  • Psychological adjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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