Behavioral manifestations of modesty

Sylvia Xiaohua CHEN, Michael Harris BOND, Bacon CHAN, Donghui TANG, Emma Ellen Kathrina BUCHTEL

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57 Citations (Scopus)


Three studies examined the social manifestations of modesty in Chinese and Canadian cultures, conceptualizing and operationalizing it as a self-presentation tactic with communal functions. In Study 1, the authors developed a self-report Modest Behavior Scale (MBS) to tap the behavioral aspects of modesty and identified three factors: self-effacement, other-enhancement, and avoidance of attention-seeking. The authors validated the scale by establishing its nomological network with trait modesty, individuation, independent and interdependent self-construals, traditionality, and modernity, in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, which are culturally different regions of China. In Study 2, the MBS was supplemented with additional items, and a different set of predictors, including values, was used to predict the three factors in both Hong Kong and Beijing, China. In Study 3, we administered the MBS in Vancouver, Canada, adding emic items generated from this Canadian sample and using values and other variables as predictors. Gender differences are discussed in terms of the role played by modest self-presentations in promoting intragroup harmony in different cultural settings. Copyright © 2009 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-626
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


Chen, S. X., Bond, M. H., Chan, B., Tang, D., & Buchtel, E. E. (2009). Behavioral manifestations of modesty. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40(4), 603-626. doi: 10.1177/0022022108330992


  • Modesty
  • Modest behavior
  • Individuation
  • Traditionality and modernity
  • Independent and interdependent self-construals


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