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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2005 Jun;88(6):948-68.

The cultural grounding of personal relationship: enemyship in North American and West African worlds.

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Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA.


Three studies investigated the implicit constructions of reality associated with cultural differences in enemyship (personal relationship of hatred, malice, and sabotage). Results of interview (Study 1; N = 98) and questionnaire (Study 2; N = 166) research indicated that enemyship was more prominent among Ghanaian participants than among U.S. participants. Additional evidence located a potential source of these differences in different constructions of relationship. Responses linked the prominence of enemyship to constructions of relationship as inherent, enduring connection (interdependent models). Responses linked the sense of freedom from enemyship to constructions of relationship as the discretionary product of atomistic selves (independent models). An experiment among Ghanaian participants (Study 3; N = 48) provided evidence that increasing experience of inherent connection can be sufficient to increase accessibility of enemyship. Results help to illuminate the cultural grounding of personal relationship and other phenomena that are typically invisible in mainstream theory and research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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