Date of Award


Degree Name

School Psychology


Graduate School of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Lanai Jennings, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Marianna Linz

Third Advisor

Dr. Conrae Lucas


Individualistic cultures tend to focus on freedom, individuality, and personal autonomy. Mainstream America is found to be a vertical individualistic society, but research has shown there are pockets of collectivistic cultures within the US. Collectivistic cultures, in contrast, tend to focus on family, conformity, and thinking of the group before one’s self. Collectivism arises due to a population’s need to rely on one another for resources. As such, low resource environments are subject to having collectivistic values. Research suggests that collectivism rates are higher in impoverished areas, such as Appalachia. This investigation focused on central Appalachia and the attributes that may point to a collectivistic culture, such as poverty, parental support, and emotional proximity to family. Specifically, researchers surveyed 99 college students in central Appalachia to assess the extent to which they endorsed statements associated with horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism. Collectivistic factors were additionally examined to determine how collectivistic beliefs were related to attitudes toward education, relocating, and the coal industry. Of those surveyed, most individuals reported higher horizontal individualism and collectivism values. This indicates that participants tended to value status within their group, along with fairness and equality among members. There are some differences, however, with those scoring higher on horizontal individualism valuing in-group status, but also valuing autonomy. Those with higher horizontal collectivism rates tended to rely on the group. In addition, freedom and autonomy is less sought after in this culture.


School psychology -- Appalachian Region.

Collectivism -- Appalachian Region.