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Values, identities and social behavior

Priority areas of development: sociology
Department: Laboratory for Comparative Studies in Mass Consciousness

Goal of research

To study the relations of values and identities to characteristics of social behavior in the populations of Russia and other countries


The main methodology of achieving the research objectives is the statistical and econometric analysis of the international and Russian survey data from the collective databases

Empirical base of research

The research is based on the data from the European Social Survey (collected in 2008 to 2018) and the data from the International Social Survey Programme (collected in 2013).

Results of research:

  1. The data of the repeated representative surveys conducted in Russia within the framework of the European Social Survey were analyzed to reveal the patterns of change in the basic values of the Russian population from 2006 to 2018. The results of regression analysis controlling for sociodemographic variables revealed the net changes in most basic values over the 12 years’ time span. The most profound changes are the decrease in the value of Security and the increase in the values of Hedonism and Stimulation. This dynamics most likely reflects the increased sense of safety making the need for avoiding threats less relevant (Security) stemming from the growth in the gross national income of the country, and hence less fear of making risky decisions (Stimulation) and more opportunities for enjoying themselves (Hedonism). 

  2. The analysis of the impact of basic values on political participation was conducted based on the data of the European Social Survey from 19 countries by means of multilevel structural equations modeling. This method of data analysis, which is  more precise than the methods used in the earlier attempts at dong similar research, confirms the previously made conclusions that the value of Self-Transcendence increases and the value of Conservation decreases the chances of citizens’ political participation. Unlike the previous research, the present results show that the value of Self-Enhancement also increases, and the value of Openness to Change decreases the chances of political participation. These new results might be due to the new method taking the measurement error into account.

  3. The analysis conducted on the Russian data showed that in the Russian population, the effects of basic values on political participation are insignificant, although similar to the general European effects in their directions. Besides, differences in the gender effects were discovered: in Russia, women are more active in the mass forms of political participation, and in other European countries, men are more active. In addition, the chances for political participation in Russia are positively related to dissatisfaction with various spheres of life (stimulating the readiness for taking action) and trusts towards political institutions (stimulating belief in the responsiveness of various political institutions and efficacy of political participation). The research on the relations between energy-saving behavior and self-efficacy and normative views in the populations of 23 European countries confirmed the hypothesis about the positive interrelations of these beliefs and views with the energy-saving behavior. These results manifest themselves in significant correlations between the variables found in most countries including Russia and in significant regression coefficients measuring the effects of self-efficacy and adherence to energy-saving norms on the probability of the energy-saving behavior. These effects, controlled for sociodemographic and socioeconomic variables, were found for two estimates, namely the frequency of energy-saving behavior and opting for energy-saving household appliances, and for personal and collective self-efficacy indicators.

  4. The data of the International Social Survey Programme collected in 2013 in 20 countries were used for studying the impact of national identity indicators on political party preferences. The results showed that a more positive national identity increases electoral preferences for the right-wing parties over centrist parties. These effects may be due to the correspondence between this high appreciation of the country by ordinary people and its presence in the right-wing political rhetoric with its emphasis on preservation and defense of the nation’s achievements over change. On the other hand, the feeling of closeness to one’s country has no significant effect on the electoral choice of right-wing parties over centrist parties, probably reflecting the difference between the impacts of cognized and ‘experienced’ evaluations.  Pride in the country’s economy, in the fairness and equality for all groups in society, and in the country’s armed forces is lower in the supporters of left-wing parties compared to centrists. These results show the correspondence between these views and the critical attitudes in the left-wing rhetoric directed at these spheres. Left wing parties are perceived as agents of change contrary to the right-wing parties perceived as defenders of the already accomplished national achievements. The feeling of closeness to one’s country increases the chances of electoral choice of left-wing parties over centrist parties.

  5. The conclusions on the impact of subjective variables on social behavior presented in the Project report are based on synchronic comparisons, thus implying possible reciprocal influence from the human behavior to his/her consciousness. The first direction of effect is reflected, in particular, in I. Ajzen’s planned behavior model, and the second direction, in L. Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory. 

Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The research results were used:

  1. in the lecture course “Data Analysis and Vizualization in R” taught to the fourth year bachelor’s degree students of the department of Sociology of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the NRU HSE, and also in supervising undergraduate and students’ research for their final qualification works

  2. in the public lectures and presentations of the project participants; 3) in a number of the project participants’ publications and presentations in Russian mass media.


Remizova A., Rudnev M. Understanding the justifiability scale in international surveys: an exploratory study // International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 2020. Vol. 23. No. 3. P. 291-309. doi
De B. L., Schaufeli W. B., De W. H., Hakanen J. J., Shimazu A., Glaser J., Seubert C., Bosak J., Sinval J., Rudnev M. Measurement Invariance of the Burnout Assessment Tool (BAT) Across Seven Cross-National Representative Samples // International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020. Vol. 17. No. 15. P. 1-14. doi
Rudnev M., Vauclair C., Bastian B. Measurement invariance of the moral vitalism scale across 28 cultural groups // PLoS ONE. 2020. Vol. 15. No. 6. P. 1-11. doi
Fabrykant M. Nationalisms in Times of Change, Changes in Nationalism: Editorial Introduction // Changing Societies and Personalities. 2020. Vol. 4. No. 3. P. 275-284. doi
Земцов А. О. Ценность демократии в политическом сознании населения постсоциалистических стран и факторы, влияющие на её значимость, in: Социология и общество: традиции и инновации в социальном развитии регионов [Электронный ресурс]: Сборник докладов VI Всероссийского социологического конгресса.: ФНИСЦ РАН, 2020. С. 1519-1523.