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Roland, A. (1996). The Influence of Culture on the Self and Selfobject Relationships: An Asian-North American Comparison. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(4):461-475.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(4):461-475

The Influence of Culture on the Self and Selfobject Relationships: An Asian-North American Comparison Related Papers

Alan Roland, Ph.D.

This essay first situates the development of self psychology within the culture of North American individualism, then delves into its relevance for understanding Asians, and comes full circle in reassessing what is universal or culturally variable in the current formulation of self psychology. The Asian self is compared with the North American one, and Asian familial hierarchical relationships with American egalitarian ones, resulting in a different cultural structuring of selfobject relationships, including the psychoanalytic one. A comparative psychology of idealizing selfobject relationships is then developed. Intercultural encounters between Asians and North Americans in the United States reveal problems in the interface because of the different culturally influenced selfobject relationships.

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