Westernization of self-perception in modern affluent Indonesian school children

Keywords: self-perception, social status, westernization, cultural dependence

Abstract

Background

Subjective Social Status is used as an important predictor for psychological and physiological findings, most commonly measured with the MacArthur Scale (Ladder Test).  Previous studies have shown that this test fits better in Western cultures. The idea of a social ladder itself and ranking oneself “higher” or “lower” is a concept that accords to the Western thinking.

Objectives

We hypothesize that in a culture where only the elites have adapted to a Western lifestyle, the test results reflect a higher level of accuracy for this stratum. We also expect that self-perception differs per sex.

Sample and Methods

We implemented the Ladder Test in a study of Indonesian schoolchildren aged between 5 and 13 years (boys N = 369, girls N= 364) from non-private and private schools in Kupang in 2020. 

Results

Our analysis showed that the Ladder Test results were according to the Western expectations only for the private school, as the Ladder Scores significantly decreased with age (LM: p = 0.04). The Ladder Test results are best explained by “Education Father” for the non-private school pupils (p = 0.01) and all boys (p = 0.04), by “School Grades” for the private school cohort (p = 0.06) and by “Household Score” for girls (p =0.09).

Conclusion

This finding indicates that the concept of ranking oneself “high” or “low” on a social ladder is strongly implicated with Western ideas.  A ladder implies social movement by “climbing” up or down.  According to that, reflection of self-perception is influenced by culture.

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Published
2021-06-22
How to Cite
Boeker, S., Hermanussen, M., & Scheffler, C. (2021). Westernization of self-perception in modern affluent Indonesian school children. Human Biology and Public Health, 1. https://doi.org/10.52905/hbph.v1.4
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Articles