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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


CASTRO SOLANO, Alejandro  y  NADER, Martín. Human values assessment with Schwart's Portrait Values Questionnaire. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2006, vol.23, n.2, pp.155-174. ISSN 1668-7027.

The study of human values can be approached from multiple perspectives (philosophical, psychological, sociological, etc.). In Psychology, the analysis of individual differences on value orientation has grown exponentially since Schwartz's works (1992, 2001) who verified a structure of ten universal values (Power, Achievement, Hedonism, Stimulation, Self-direction, Universalism, Benevolence, Tradition, Conformity and Security) which are organized in four bipolarities (Self-transcendence, Self-enhancement, Conservatism and Openness to change). Influenced heavily by Rokeach (1973), Schwartz's theory defines values as desirable, trans-situational goals, varying in importance, that serve as guiding principles in people's lives. The crucial aspect that distinguishes one value from another is the type of motivational goal it expresses. Schwartz derived a typology of different value contents by reasoning that values represent in the form of conscious goals three universal requirements of human existence: biological needs, coordinated social interaction requisites and group survival and functioning demands. There is substantial, cross-cultural support for the distinctiveness of this ten-type research from more than 60 countries. A specific value represents a type of action that when attained, promotes the central goal of the type. In addition to propositions regarding the content of values, the theory specifies dynamic relationships among the types of values. Actions taken in pursuit of each type of value have psychological, practical and social consequences that may clash or be compatible with the pursuit of other value types. The complete pattern of relationships of value conflict and compatibility among value priorities give rise to a circular structure of value systems. Competing value types emanate in opposing directions from the center; complementary types are in close proximity going around the circle. There are three methods for value assessment (Vera Martínez, 2001), namely: (1) by inferring on the observed behavior of people to determine the values to which they adhere, (2) by asking people to share their values explicitly with us, and (3) by giving people a set of stimuli such as questionnaires which they must answer. Hechter (1993) and Rokeach (1973) state that the objective evaluation of values by observation is inappropriate, because it is information difficult to categorize and to quantify, and is influenced by the observer's values. The second form of evaluation is in a way difficult for the individuals, since they are asked to respond to issues that perhaps have never been a matter of reflection for them. The difficulty for people in this case resides in the expression of their values in words they transmit to the interviewer. An intermediate position sustains that people have a series of stable values of moderate complexity that they put into practice when facing different daily life situations. In this way, both the questionnaires and the surveys turn out to be useful and easy to apply, especially among large populations. Nevertheless, these instruments are not exempt of problems. One of the main problems lies in that the predetermined formulation of elements might not necessarily be any of the person's values or that the different participants interpret differently each stimuli. The main goals for this study are: (a) to adapt and validate the PVQ (Portrait Values Questionnaire) for the assessment of human values and (b) to verify individual differences in two contexts (civil and military), as well as in gender and age. Data were taken from an Argentinian population (N = 692) in three different contexts: (a) a civil setting (n = 471), (b) among military officers (n = 97), and (c) military cadets (n = 124). The study allowed us to verify partially the value structure proposed by the author. PVQ reliability is adequate in all three contexts applied. We were also able to verify that the civil population is more oriented by Self-enhancement and Openness to change (Achievement and Hedonism) compared to military population. The latter were more oriented by values related to Conservatism (Tradition and Conformity). We found no differences related to gender and age.

Palabras clave : Human values; General population; Military population.

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