Exploring the Indigenous Structure of Vietnamese Personality: A Lexical Approach
The lexical approach has been widely used to identify emic (indigenous) structures of personality without imposing influences from other cultures. The approach also enables comparisons of personality structure across cultures. The goals of this study were to explore the structure of the Vietnamese personality lexicon and to relate emic Vietnamese personality dimensions to proposed etic (universal) personality models. The study was conducted in four steps. First, 2,129 person-descriptive terms were culled from a Vietnamese-English Dictionary. Second, the researcher classified the 2,129 terms into the categories of a person-descriptive taxomomy developed for the German language. Third, seven judges rated each of the 2, 129 person-descriptive terms for their clarity, familiarity, and relevance for personality. Fourth, 668 trait terms, which were selected based on the previous steps, were rated by 850 Vietnamese individuals, primarily college students, in the central and southern regions of Vietnam. After eliminating 140 participants who responded carelessly or omitted many items, the self-ratings of the remaining 710 participants were factor analyzed using principal components analyses with varimax rotations. One- to eight-factor solutions were examined and related to each other in a personality hierarchy. These emic factors were then correlated with marker scales for etic models of personality structure, including the Big One, Big Two, Big Three, Big Five, Big Six, and Multi-Language Seven (ML7) models. The Vietnamese factor structure showed moderate to strong support for the cross-cultural replicability of the Big One, Big Two, and Big Three models. The Big Five, Big Six, and ML7 models were not well replicated. The eight-factor solution provided the most interpretable structure. Five of its factors corresponded well with dimensions of the Big Six model: Vietnamese Warm-heartedness-Virtue with Agreeableness, Vietnamese Talented-Intellect with Intellect, Vietnamese Orderly-Industriousness with Conscientiousness, Vietnamese Courage with Emotional Stability (inversely), and Vietnamese Vivaciousness with Extraversion. The three remaining indigenous factors--Modesty, Straightforward-Genuineness, and Trustworthiness--showed modest to moderate relationships with Big Six Honesty-Humility. Gender differences on the Vietnamese dimensions were generally modest but provided initial validity evidence for the dimensions. Theoretical and applied implications, as well as strengths, limitations, and future research recommendations are discussed.