Cultural Values Moderate the Impact of Relative Deprivation

Heather J. Smith, Desiree A. Ryan, Alexandria Jaurique, Thomas F. Pettigrew, Jolanda Jetten, Amarina, Frédérique Autin, Nadia Ayub, Constantina Badea, Tomasz Besta, Fabrizio Butera, Rui Costa-Lopes, Lijuan Cui, Carole Fantini, Gillian Finchilescu, Lowell Gaertner, Mario Gollwitzer, Ángel Gómez, Roberto González, Ying Yi HongDorthe Høj Jensen, Minoru Karasawa, Thomas Kessler, Olivier Klein, Marcus Lima, Tuuli Anna Renvik, Inga Jasinskaja-Lahti, Laura Megevand, Thomas Morton, Paola Paladino, Tibor Polya, Aleksejs Ruza, Wan Shahrazad, Sushama Sharma, Ali Teymoori, Ana Raquel Torres, Anne Marthe van der Bles, Michael Wohl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Relative deprivation (RD) is the judgment that one or one’s ingroup is worse off compared with some relevant standard coupled with feelings of dissatisfaction, anger, and resentment. RD predicts a wide range of outcomes, but it is unclear whether this relationship is moderated by national cultural differences. Therefore, in the first study, we used national assessments of individual-collectivism and power distance to code 303 effect sizes from 31 different countries with 200,578 participants. RD predicted outcomes ranging from life satisfaction to collective action more strongly within individualistic nations. A second survey of 6,112 undergraduate university students from 28 different countries confirmed the predictive value of RD. Again, the relationship between individual RD and different outcomes was stronger for students who lived in more individualistic countries. Group-based RD also predicted political trust more strongly for students who lived in countries marked by lower power distance. RD effects, although consistent predictors, are culturally bounded. In particular, RD is more likely to motivate reactions within individualistic countries that emphasize individual agency and achievement as a source of self-worth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1218
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • Hofstede’s national values
  • life satisfaction
  • political trust
  • relative deprivation
  • social inequality


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