Caribbean Journal of Psychology: Vol. 10, Issue 2, 2018

Article 2
Examining Value Content, Structure, and Prioritization in African-American and Caribbean Student Samples in the United States

Janel M. Gill
Howard University, Washington, DC

Angela P. Cole-Dixon
Howard University, Washington, DC


Schwartz’s value theory is arguably the most cross-culturally validated value theory in psychology (1992, 1994a, 2011). United States (US) studies have garnered much support for Schwartz’s theory (Schwartz, 1992, 1994a; Schwartz & Sagiv, 1995). However, US samples were neither racially nor ethnically representative, and did not examine intranational cultural differences in value meaning (i.e., content), relations (i.e., structure), and the relative importance of values as lifeguiding principles (i.e., prioritization). The present study aims to examine intranational cultural differences in values by examining value content, structure, and prioritization in two understudied cultural groups within the US: African-American students (n = 1022) and Caribbean students (n = 86) (N = 1108). Multidimensional scaling analysis produced a solution that was highly interpretable and consistent with the theory: all 10 predicted values emerged; and observed spatial relations among values were as hypothesized, with few exceptions. With respect to value prioritization, the top three values were the same for both groups. In the African-American sample, the top value was achievement; however, in the Caribbean student sample, the top value was benevolence. These analyses helped to identify meaningful cultural differences in the values of African-American and Caribbean student samples in the US.