Cultural differences in responses to a Likert scale

Res Nurs Health. 2002 Aug;25(4):295-306. doi: 10.1002/nur.10041.


Cultural differences in responses to a Likert scale were examined. Self-identified Chinese, Japanese, and Americans (N=136, 323, and 160, respectively) recruited at ethnic or general supermarkets in Southern California completed a 13-question Sense of Coherence scale with a choice of either four, five, or seven responses in either Chinese, Japanese, or English. The Japanese respondents more frequently reported difficulty with the scale, the Chinese more frequently skipped questions, and both these groups selected the midpoint more frequently on items that involved admitting to a positive emotion than did the Americans, who were more likely to indicate a positive emotion. Construct validity of the scale tended to be better for the Chinese and the Americans when there were four response choices and for the Japanese when there were seven. Although culture affected response patterns, the association of sense of coherence and health was positive in all three cultural groups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Asian Americans / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • California
  • China / ethnology
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Semantics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Translating
  • Whites / psychology*