Changes in Social Values in the United States, 1976–2007: Self-Respect Is on the Upswing as a Sense of Belonging Becomes Less Important

Eda Gurel-Atay

University of Oregon

Guang-Xin Xie

University of Massachusetts-Boston

Johnny Chen

University of Oregon

Lynn Richard Kahle

Lundquist College of Business


Social values have been a focal area in advertising research for decades. Extant literature suggests that social values are reflected in a great variety of advertisements and can influence audience reactions to advertising appeals (Becker and Connor, 1981; Chow and Amir, 2006; Kahle, Poulos, and Sukhdial, 1988; Lin, 2001; Vinson, Scott, and Lamont, 1977; Zhang and Shavitt, 2003). With the rapid changes in the social environment, it is imperative for scholars and practitioners to keep a close watch on the changing values. This study is the third national survey in a series of three that monitored the social values across generations, cohorts, and key demographics in 1976, 1986, and 2007 in the United States.