Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Johanna Nilsson & Ashley Heintzelman
Individualism is a common term in the counseling and psychological literature used to describe certain cultures and specific individual attributes valued in these cultures. The term individualism is often used in contrast to collectivism . Both terms describe a cultural syndrome that reflects shared attitudes, beliefs, norms, and values that are found among individuals who live in specific geographical regions and speak a particular language during a specific historical period. Individualistic cultures, such as the mainstream European and North American cultures, place a high value on individuals being independent and self-sufficient. In contrast, collectivistic cultures, more often found in Asia and South America, focus on relational harmony and collective values. Of all the variations that exist among cultures, the individualistic-collectivistic cultural syndrome appears to be the underlying structure of such difference and thus may be the most important. These differences do not only impact the individual but also have a ...