Introduction

Kashish S -

Hi! My name is Kashish Shah, and I am a senior at BASIS Phoenix High School. In college, I plan on majoring in anthropology, with the goal of pursuing a career in medicine. My senior research project aims to evaluate the relationship between societal subtypes as psychological wellbeing. More specifically, the title of my research project is: Culture and Mental Health: The Relationship between Individualism/Collectivism and Change in Wellbeing. 

Individualism and collectivism are two types of culture that consider how we view ourselves in relation to those around us. Individualism is a type of self-concept that values personal autonomy (Triandis 1995). Those who are more individualistic see themselves as separate from others, and their self-concept is defined based on their personality and characteristics. Conversely, those who are more collectivistic see themselves as connected to others, and their self-concept is based on their changing personality traits based on who they are with, or the group they are a member of (AFS-USA). Most people exhibit traits of both cultural types.

Interestingly, individualism and collectivism are closely entwined with different parts of the world. In fact, the Western world is more individualistic, with individuals prioritizing their independence and autonomy, while Asian countries are more collectivist in nature, placing heavy emphasis on their interpersonal relationships. 

While in AP Psychology, I learned about these two cultural types, and it was very fascinating to see how the place someone was raised had such a specific impact on their personal values. This year, I was able to build on that intrigue, leading me to my research question: How do individualism and collectivism relate to psychological wellbeing amongst high-schoolers aged 14-17 of varying ethnicities in a college preparatory high school in Phoenix, Arizona? I will aim to see whether cultural values, seen through individualism and collectivism, will have any relationship, if any, to a person’s wellbeing. 

My site placement at Native Health will help me understand more about my research by gaining a firsthand experience into the role of community outreach regarding mental health.

Through this research, I will be able to see how individualism or collectivism relate to a change in wellbeing among an age group experiencing emotional changes.

 

Sources:

Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism & collectivism. Westview Press.

https://www.afsusa.org/study-abroad/culture-trek/culture-points/culture-points-individualism-and-collectivism/

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Comments:

All viewpoints are welcome but profane, threatening, disrespectful, or harassing comments will not be tolerated and are subject to moderation up to, and including, full deletion.

    Akhil Durvasula
    I am excited to see how your research develops Kashish. As someone who has had to deal with mental health issues, I resonate with the issues and questions you bring up. I am looking forward to reading your final work!
    Dishita Kolla
    Intriguing topic, Kashish! I’m very excited to learn from your findings. I was wondering about how you plan to account for the influence of other factors, besides individualism and collectivism, that might affect the well-being of high schoolers, such as family dynamics, academic pressure, or social media use?
    Dishita Kolla
    Interesting Topic, Kashish! I’m very excited to learn from your findings. I was wondering how you would account for other factors that might influence wellbeing, such as individual personality traits or family dynamics?
    Dishita Kolla
    Interesting Topic, Kashish! I’m very excited to learn from your findings. I was wondering how you would account for other factors that might influence wellbeing, such as individual personality traits or family dynamics?
    kashish_s
    Hi Dishita, thanks so much for your comment! So individual personality traits/family dynamics are actually related to the core of what I'm looking at. Specifically, a person's individualistic or collectivistic tendencies are derived from their family values/dynamics. For example, your way of thinking and actions are influenced by what your family thinks and acts, which in turn forms your opinions regarding individualism-collectivism. From there, your family values also influence your personality/characteristics. I hope that made sense; thanks for your interest!
    kashish_s
    Hi Akhil, thanks for your response! I appreciate your vulnerability and your interest in my project.

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