English title: Personal Values and Public Opinion

Author(s): H. Whitt Kilburn -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2009


Objective: Social science considers values a key motivator of human behavior, yet studies of values in public opinion have tended to focus on more limited political values. I investigate how a general theory of human values (Schwartz, 1992) shapes public opinion. In one dimension, individuals are motivated by a desire for independent thought and action versus conformity to traditional social norms; in the second, individuals are motivated by a desire to care for others versus control or achieve superior social status over them. Methods: Statistical analysis of the European Social Survey, nationally representative surveys in 15 western European nations. Results: Human values are systematically related to a citizen's left-right self-identification, displaying appropriate sensitivity to party system context in Scandinavia, and explaining attitudes toward ethnic minority immigration, even when controlling for reasonable alternate explanations. Conclusion: Personal values along these two dimensions of social conflict merit further attention as sources of public opinion.

Volume: 90

Issue: 4

From page no: 868

To page no: 885

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1111/J.1540-6237.2009.00667.X

Journal: Social Science Quarterly