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Personality Differences across Borders: A Comparison of Student Samples from Mexico and the United States

Jai Ghorpade, Keith Hattrup, James R. Lackritz

Abstract


Since personality plays such a vital role in shaping the quality of interpersonal relations and achievements of individuals, a vast body of research has accumulated on the subject. Unfortunately, much of this research deals with intracultural issues and samples. This study reports the findings of a crosscultural study of personality differences among student samples in two cities with a common international border: Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, United States. The samples consist of undergraduate students from a variety of academic disciplines enrolled in colleges within a radius of about fifty miles from the U.S.-Mexican border. Four personality dimensions were investigated by use of established personality scales through a questionnaire: need for autonomy, altruism, self-esteem, and locus of control. Comparisons were made of the Mexican sample with three ethnic groups in the United States: African-American, Mexican-American, and Euro-Americans. The results showed that Mexican subjects exhibited a significantly higher need for autonomy than the other groups. However, the Mexican sample exhibited a significantly lower mean on self-esteem than the African-American and Mexican-American samples. An additional finding of this study, which was not part of the original research concern, showed a negative correlation between overall grade point average (GPA) and number of years spent in the United States by the immigrant students within the United States sample. Implications of these differences for human resource management that transcends borders were discussed.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229

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