Self-concordance and subjective well-being in four cultures

Kennon M. Sheldon, Andrew J. Elliot, Richard M. Ryan, Valery Chirkov, Youngmee Kim, Cindy Wu, Meliksah Demir, Zhigang Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

169 Scopus citations


Sheldon and colleagues have recently focused research attention on the concept of self-concordance, in which people feel that they pursue their goals because the goals fit with their underlying interests and values rather than because others say they should pursue them. Self-concordant individuals typically evidence higher subjective well-being (SWB). But is this also true in non-Western cultures, which emphasize people's duty to conform to societal expectations and group-centered norms? To address this question, this study assessed goal self-concordance and SWB in four different cultures. U.S., Chinese, and South Korean samples evidenced equal levels of self-concordance, whereas a Taiwanese sample evidenced somewhat less self-concordance. More importantly, self-concordance predicted SWB within every culture. It appears that "owning one's actions" - that is, feeling that one's goals are consistent with the self-may be important for most if not all humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Culture
  • Goals
  • Motivation
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology

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  • Cite this

    Sheldon, K. M., Elliot, A. J., Ryan, R. M., Chirkov, V., Kim, Y., Wu, C., Demir, M., & Sun, Z. (2004). Self-concordance and subjective well-being in four cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35(2), 209-223.