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   2011, Vol. 43 Issue (12) : 1418-1429     DOI:
A Combined Emic-Etic Approach to Personality: CPAI and Cross-Cultural Applications
FAN Weiqiao;Fanny M. CHEUNG;ZHANG Jian-Xin;Shu Fai CHEUNG
(1Department of Psychology, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China)
(2Department of Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
(3 Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China)
(4Department of Psychology, University of Macau, Macau, China)
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Abstract  Since 1970s, major Western personality assessment were translated and applied in different Chinese societies. Although the reliabilities and validities of these imposed-etic measures were largely demonstrated, cultural differences were found at the item, scale and factor levels. These cultural differences have led to attempts to construct indigenous measures to assess personality constructs that are particularly relevant to the Chinese societies. The CPAI was developed with a combined etic-emic approach in the late 1980s.
The CPAI includes multidimensional personality scales for normal personality and diagnostic assessment of the Chinese people. To derive emic dimensions, the research team used a bottom-up approach based on multiple inputs from a wide range of daily life experiences, research review, and clinical experiences of local professionals. Reference was made to research results on imported Western instruments in Chinese settings. The CPAI, its revised version, CPAI-2, and the adolescent version, CPAI-A, were developed using vigorous procedures of scale construction, and were standardized on large representative samples across different Chinese regions. Extensive research to validate the CPAI, CPAI-2, and CPAI-A has been undertaken by the CPAI research team and other psychologists in Chinese and cross-cultural settings in Asia, Europe and North America. The personality traits measured by the CPAI inventories have demonstrated validity in predicting external variables such as life satisfaction, marital satisfaction, leadership, work performance, and vocational development, as well in differentiating among psychiatric diagnostic groups.
Findings from the CPAI research program highlight the value of a combined emic-etic approach in personality assessment. The Interpersonal Relatedness (IR) factor, as an indigenous Chinese personality dimension, contributed additional variance beyond the universal dimensions of mainstream personality measures in explaining behaviour in both Asian and Western cultures. The added value of the IR factor illustrates the importance of relational personality constructs which fill the gap in Western personality models. On the other hand, the lack of a distinct Chinese openness factor as that found in the Five Factor Model suggested differences in the taxonomy of personality structure across cultures.
The CPAI research program aimed not only to establish the reliability and validity of an indigenously derived assessment measure, but also to promote understanding of personality beyond that of a Western-based personality structure in a truly universal model. The CPAI-2 has been translated into six other languages, including Dutch, English, Korean, Japanese, Romanian and Vietnamese. Reliability analysis supported the internal consistence of the subscales of CPAI-2 in cross-cultural settings. Proscrutes rotation of the factor structures of a cross-cultural sample of college students confirmed the congruence and relevance of the emic CPAI-2 personality factor beyond Chinese culture. These results have encouraged us to further examine the cross-cultural validity of the CPAI inventories and the contribution of the combined etic-emic approach to the study of personality in cultural contexts.
Keywords CPAI      personality      cross-cultural assessment      etic      emic     
Corresponding Authors: FAN Weiqiao   
Issue Date: 30 December 2011
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FAN Weiqiao,Fanny M. CHEUNG,ZHANG Jian-Xin, et al. A Combined Emic-Etic Approach to Personality: CPAI and Cross-Cultural Applications[J]. , 2011, 43(12): 1418-1429.
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