Independent vs. Interdependent Construal of Self

26 Sep

 There are differences between the way different cultures perceive, comprehend, and interpret the world around them. It is important to know some of the differences and to be sensitive and understanding of other cultures and individuals.  Following is a table describing some of the differences between independent and interdependent self-construal.

Construal of Self



Normative Task

Maintain the individual as a separate, self-contained individual

Adjust oneself so as to fit in and maintain the interdependence among individuals


Be Unique”

Express yourself”

Realize and actualize your inner self”

Strive for you goals”

Adjust to the attendant relationship or group to which they belong”

Read other’s minds”

Be sympathetic”

Occupy and play one’s assigned role”

Sense of Worth/Self Esteem

Focus on internal attributes (ability, intelligence, personality, goals, preferences, rights)

Verify and confirm through social comparison

Fit in and be part of a relevant ongoing relationship, strive to meet/create duties, obligations, and social responsibilities

Self is unbound, flexible, and contingent on context

Internal attributes are less salient in thinking, feeling, and acting

 It is important to talk about your own culture and to look and see how people do things in other cultures.


Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Culture, Diversity


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Independent vs. Interdependent Construal of Self

  1. Crawford Comeaux

    September 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    This table is mislabeled.

    I know I’m 5 years late to this post, but it’s the first thing that came up for me when I googled “independence vs interdependence” and there’s an important thing that needs saying about the table above:

    It depicts independence vs codependence, not interdependence. Interdependence requires a whole & defined sense of self, while codependence letting others dictate things that define me. Interdependence requires clear communication so as to not get pulled into codependent mind-reading.

    There’s a 12-step group called Codependents Anonymous & everything on the right side of the table is in their literature. There is no such thing as Interdependence Anonymous as social animals have interdependent needs, such as community. Here’s a bit more information for those interested:

    • DannonL

      September 25, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks for your comment and insights!


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