Testing the Circular Structure of Human Values: A Meta-Analytical Structural Equation Modelling Approach


  • Holger Steinmetz University of Giessen
  • Rodrigo Isidor University of Giessen
  • Naissa Baeuerle University of Giessen




circumplex, structural equation modelling, heterogeneity, MASEM, meta-analysis


Schwartz' theory of human values has found widespread interest in the social sciences. A central part of the theory is that the 10 proposed basic values (i.e., achievement, power, self-direction, hedonism, stimulation, benevolence, universalism, conformity, security, and tradition) are arranged in a circular structure. The present study applies a meta-analytical structural equation modelling approach to test the circular structure. The model tested was the quasi-circumplex model, which is considered the most appropriate representation of the circular structure. Moreover, the study explores how far the circular structure varies with the used samples and methodological characteristics of the studies. The meta-analysis comprised 318 matrices with the correlations among the 10 values gathered from 88 studies and the European Social Survey (overall n = 251,239). To reduce heterogeneity across the matrices, cluster analysis was used to sort the matrices into eight clusters with a similar correlation profile and tested the circular structure in each cluster. The results showed that three clusters demonstrated a good fit with the data and an adequate match to the theoretically proposed structure. The clusters' cultural and methodological profiles indicate potential moderators of the circular structure which should be considered in future research.




How to Cite

Steinmetz, H., Isidor, R., & Baeuerle, N. (2012). Testing the Circular Structure of Human Values: A Meta-Analytical Structural Equation Modelling Approach. Survey Research Methods, 6(1), 61–75. https://doi.org/10.18148/srm/2012.v6i1.5096

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