• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site
For visually-impairedUser profile (HSE staff only)SearchMenu

Identity, intercultural interaction and psychological well-being: the role of the socio-economic context

Priority areas of development: humanitarian

Goal of research

To analyze the sociocultural and socioeconomic processes occurring in post-Soviet space. In particular, the project aims to analyze identity transformation, intercultural relations, socio- economic attitudes and behavior as well as their interrelations.


The main method of data collection was social psychological survey. The additional methods of data collection included in-depth interviews, semi-structured interviews (including expert interviews), quasi-experiment, and secondary open-access data analysis.

Empirical research data

We analyzed data, gathered by conducting socio-psychological surveys in Russia and post-Soviet republics (Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Latvia, and Georgia); data collected during the conduct of semi-structured interviews and experimental data obtained in Russia and the UK as well as secondary data. We used World Value Survey’s 6th wave for 2011 (WVS), the informational source "Russia duck consulting" for 2017, the geo-informational system "Meteo-measurements online", the Russian state informational source "Unified interagency informational and statistical system" (EMISS) for 2016.

Research results

The project included a series of studies carried out within five research tracks.

1) Social identities and their transformation in post-Soviet space.

Our study of intergenerational and intercountry similarities and differences in the expression of inclusive and exclusive social identities among members of the ethnic minority (Russians) and ethnic majority in post-Soviet countries, i.e. Azerbaijan, Georgia, Latvia and Tajikistan, showed that: (1) a gradual decline occurred in the significance of ethno-differentiating social identities (ethnic and religious) among representatives of ethnic minorities (Russians) from older to younger generations; (2) the more favorable the state policy towards ethnic minorities, the more significant the civil identity of Russians in these countries was (for example, in Azerbaijan compared to Latvia); (3) transmission of social identities in the family was carried out through the middle generation among both ethnic minority (Russian) and ethnic majority; (4) the family played an important role in maintaining and transmitting ethno-differentiating (ethnic, religious) and inclusive (civil, European) social identities, especially in the context of ethnic discrimination; (5) religious or political pressure increased the importance of culture-specific identities among members of ethnic minorities, and therefore, prevented minority assimilation and the extinction of their ethnic culture. Further, we studied the role of multiple identities and acculturation strategies in the psychological well-being of two generations of Crimean Tatars in Crimea. This study revealed the main difference between the two generations of Crimean Tatars: Among the older generation the preference for the integration strategy was positively associated with self-esteem and life satisfaction, while among the younger one the preference for separation strategy was related to those constructs.

2) Intercultural interactions and attitudes.

In this area of research, we carried out a theoretical analysis of prejudice as a social psychological phenomenon, taking in consideration its function in intergroup relations. We developed and pretested original questionnaire that was focused on behavioral strategies in intercultural conflicts, and we tested a model, which described the relations between patriotism, nationalism, right-wing authoritarianism, and political totalitarianism. As well we evaluated the role of collective narcissism in the examined associations. This research found that (1) patriotism failed to directly relate to totalitarianism: The relationship between patriotism and totalitarianism was fully mediated by nationalism and authoritarianism, whereas the relationship between patriotism and authoritarianism was fully mediated by nationalism; (2) patriotism was positively associated with nationalism only in conditions of high collective narcissism; (3) nationalism was positively related to authoritarianism and totalitarianism, while authoritarianism had a positive relation with totalitarianism.  

The results of two empirical studies on the association between creativity and cross-cultural experience were also presented in this research area. The first study addressed the perception of socio-cultural differences between Russian and foreign students, as well as the competencies Russian students need in intercultural interactions. According to the obtained results we concluded that more creative students tended to recognize and accept cultural differences and positively perceive foreign students in general. The second study examined the association between cooperative and competitive attitudes towards foreign students and the creativity of Russian students, as well as the role of cross-cultural contacts and social comparisons with foreign students in these relations. Considering the study findings, we concluded that there was a positive relation between cooperative attitudes and creativity, a negative relation between competitive attitudes and creativity, and social comparisons played a unique role in these relations.

3) Socio-cultural, economic and environmental factors of corruption. In this area, we conducted two studies.

The first one was aimed at studying the role of basic values ​​in the relationship between trust and corruption, on a sample of 60 different countries (data from WVS). As a result, we found a negative association between the level of trust and the acceptability of corruption, as well as identified the relation between Schwartz’s basic meta-values and the acceptability of corruption. Conservation ​​and Self-transcendence values ​​were negatively related to the acceptability of corruption. Direct association of Openness to change and Self-enhancement values with the acceptability of corruption might be absent or even positive. The study showed that the moderating role of values ​​in determining corrupt behavior could be significant. High value average scores ​​neutralized the statistical significance of the relationship between trust and acceptability of corruption. However, the effect of values varied. When the levels of Conservation and Self-transcendence were high, the level of acceptability of corruption was low regardless of the level of social and institutional trust. Yet we observed the opposite effect when the levels of Openness to change and Self-enhancement were high - the acceptability of corruption was high regardless of the level of social and institutional trust.

The second study, conducted within the framework of the climate-economic theory of culture, was aimed at studying the role of climate and economic development in 85 regions of Russia as antecedents of corruption and crime. It was shown that the more severe regional climatic conditions were interconnected with the wider spread of crime and corruption in these regions. Moreover, the increase in economic well-being of regions allowed to mitigate the influence of climatic conditions on the prevalence of these unfavorable social phenomena. Also, the data obtained indicated that since the majority of the Russian population had a poor quality of life, an increase in the material well-being of certain country regions could lead to a competition for resources, and therefore, to increase crime and corruption. In particular, such conclusion was made due to the positive relation between the regional gross domestic product per capita and the levels of crime and corruption in some regions of Russia.

4) Socio-psychological factors of asocial and prosocial behavior.

Within this research area we examined the role of intrafamily social capital in the prevention of deviant behavior of adolescents as well as certain socio-cognitive prerequisites for prosocial behavior.

Our empirical study which investigated the role of intrafamily social capital in preventing adolescent deviant behavior showed that intrafamily social capital allowed one to overcome the dispositional tendency to deviant behavior and served as a protective mechanism that prevented the development of such behavior. This means that in case individual predisposition to deviant behavior is present, family relationships based on trust, psychological closeness, attention and support might neutralize this predisposition in deviant behavior formation in adolescence.

Economic and social instability leads to an increase in social inequality even against the background of a general increase in well-being, and the poverty issue has attracted increasing attention. Therefore, we studied perceptions of causes of poverty as a predictor of decision making about helping others, who experience unfavorable economic situations. Our results showed that respondents tended to be less willing to help when poverty was perceived to be attributed to personal responsibility. On the contrary, respondents were more willing to help when poverty was perceived to be caused by uncontrollable factors and the poor were not perceived as responsible for their situation. It was also discovered that people were equally likely to help when there was no information about the cause of poverty and the cause of poverty was perceived as external and the poor were perceived to be less responsible for their situation. In addition, it was revealed that religiosity in general contributes to engagement in prosocial behavior. At the same time, helping behavior failed to differ between religious and non-religious respondents depending on the information about the cause of poverty. Men and women equally tended to help in those situations when the cause of poverty was perceived as a personal responsibility and when there was no information about the cause of poverty. However, women were more likely to help compared to men when the cause of poverty was situational.

The degree of implementation, recommendations for implementation or the effect of research results implementation

Research results can be used in predicting the consequences of socio-economic and political transformations and developing programs for optimizing interethnic relations. In the field of social policy research results can be applied to assess the consequences of socio-economic reforms and to optimize migration policy, while in the legal and legislative sphere they can be employed to predict the population attitude towards changes in migration, economic and environmental policies. Data on identity change of Russian ethnic minority and ethnic majorities in post-Soviet space can be used to determine strategies for supporting compatriots abroad and building a political dialogue with partner CIS countries. The results obtained in the study of the relationship between creativity and intercultural experience could be useful for improving Russian education policy. The data on the relationship between the perception of causes of poverty and willingness to help the poor could be used by various charitable foundations that provide support to people in poor financial conditions.

Additionally, the results of all research could be used in education, as a part of the topics discussed in courses such as "Cross-cultural psychology", "Economic psychology", "Social psychology", "Environmental Psychology".


Witte E. H., Stanciu A., Boehnke K. A New Empirical Approach to Intercultural Comparisons of Value Preferences Based on Schwartz’s Theory // Frontiers in Psychology. 2020. Vol. 11. P. 1-18. doi
Boehnke K., Schiefer D., van E. M. C., Hanke K., Klar Y., Roccas S. Conceiving one‘s national group as transgenerational: Effects on attitudes towards ‘foreign’ and diaspora migrants. // PLoS ONE. 2020. Vol. 15. No. 4. P. e0230303-1-e0230303-21. doi
Ponizovskiy V., Arant R., Larsen M., Boehnke K. Sticking to common values: Neighbourhood social cohesion moderates the effect of value congruence on life satisfaction // Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. 2020. P. 1-17. doi
Inguglia C., Musso P., Albiero P., Cassibba R., Iannello N., Crucchio M., Liga F., Berry J. W., Coco A. Mutual intercultural relations among immigrant and autochthonous youth in Italy. Testing the integration, multiculturalism, and contact hypotheses // Ricerche di Psicologia. 2020. Vol. 43. No. 1. P. 45-79. doi
Smith P. B., Easterbrook M. J., al-Selim H., Miu C. L. V., Koc Yasin, Gul Pelin, Papastylianou D., Grigoryan L., Efremova M., Torres C., Hassan B., Ahmad A. H., al-Bayati A., Anderson J. Sex Differences in Self-Construal and in Depressive Symptoms: Predictors of Cross-National Variation // Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 2020. Vol. 51. No. 7-8. P. 616-635. doi
de C. R. A. R., Bobowik M., Vilar R., Lui J. H., de Z. H. G., Kus‐Harbord L., Lebedeva N., Gouveia V. V. Human values and ideological beliefs as predictors of attitudes toward immigrants across 20 countries: The country‐level moderating role of threat // European Journal of Social Psychology. 2020. Vol. 50. No. 3. P. 534-546. doi
Tartakovsky, E., Walsh S. D., Lebedeva, N., Tatarko A., Patrakov E., Nikulina M. Is there “smoke without fire”? Applying the theory of values to the study of motivational aspects of ethnic stereotypes: The case of Jewish stereotypes in Russia // International Journal of Psychology. 2020. Vol. 55. No. 5. P. 891-899. doi
Tatarko A., Mironova A. A., Gari A., van d. V. F. The Relationship Between Human Values and Acceptability of Corruption in Russia and Greece // Psychology in Russia: State of the Art. 2020. Vol. 13. No. 3. P. 79-95. doi
Kodja E. The role of multiple identities and acculturation strategies in the psychological well-being of Crimean Tatars: Intergenerational analysis // Психологические исследования: электронный научный журнал. 2021. Vol. 14. No. 77. P. 3-. 
Коджа Е. А. Крымские татары: опыт формирования идентичности, in: Этнос и культура в эпоху глобализации: Сборник материалов IV Международной научной очно-заочной конференции, 1-2 июля 2021 г.. Краснодар : Кубанский государственный технологический университет, 2021. С. 339-346.