Life Values Among Lebanese and Portuguese College Students

A Cross-Cultural Comparison


  • Cátia Marques University of Minho, Portugal
  • Maria do Céu Taveira University of Minho, Portugal
  • Mayssah El Nayal Beirut Arab University, Lebanon
  • Ana Daniela Silva University of Minho, Portugal
  • Valdiney Gouveia Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil



assessment, college students, confirmatory factor analysis, construct validity, functional theory, life values


This study aims to test the applicability of the functional theory of life values and score differences among a group of students from Lebanon and Portugal. Participants include 565 college students—278 Lebanese and 287 Portuguese. A demographic questionnaire and an adapted version of the Basic Values Survey were completed. Confirmatory/multigroup factor analysis, a generalized Procrustes analysis, and a t test were used. Results indicate that content and structure hypotheses were equivalent among the two groups. There were significant differences between the Lebanese and Portuguese students in normative and promotion values in favor of the first group, and in interactive, suprapersonal, and excitement values in favor of the second. This study has implications for institutional academic and social practices with international college students.

Author Biographies

Cátia Marques, University of Minho, Portugal

CÁTIA MARQUES, PhD, is a Research Assistant in the Center for Research in Psychology, in the School of Psychology, at University of Minho. Her major research interests lie in the area of basic life values, career ethical reflexivity, youths’ life trajectories, career transitions, occupational adaptation, and multiculturalism.

Maria do Céu Taveira, University of Minho, Portugal

MARIA DO CÉU TAVEIRA, PhD, is a Professor and the Vice Dean of the Department of Applied Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Minho. Her major research interests lie in the area of career exploration, academic adjustment and well-being, and evaluation of career interventions.

Mayssah El Nayal, Beirut Arab University, Lebanon

MAYSSAH EL NAYAL, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology and the Dean of Faculty of Human Sciences at Beirut Arab University –Lebanon. Her major research interests lie in the area of mental disorders, personality, healthy behavior and positive psychology

Ana Daniela Silva, University of Minho, Portugal

ANA DANIELA SILVA, PhD, is a Researcher in the Center for Research in Psychology, in the School of Psychology, at University of Minho. Her major research interests lie in the area of higher education and career development.

Valdiney Gouveia, Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil

VALDINEY GOUVEIA, PhD, is a Professor of Social Psychology at Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil, and currently, a Visiting Professor at University of Victoria, Canada. His main research interests lie in the area of human values, attitudes, pro and antisocial behaviors, and personality traits.


Allen, S. (2018). Creative diversity: Promoting interculturality in Australian pathways to higher education. Journal of International Students, 8(1), 251–273.

Almeida, L., & Tavares, P. (2009). Valores de vida em estudantes universitários de cursos tecnológicos e de humanidades [Life values of tecnological and humanities college students]. Avaliação Psicológica, 8, 156–168.

Alsahafi, N., & Shin, S. C. (2017). Factors affecting the academic and cultural adjustment of Saudi international students in Australian universities. Journal of International Students, 7(1), 53–72.

Alves, S. (2012). Alunos migrantes na UA: enquadramento e integração [Migrant students in UA: framework and integration; Unpublished master dissertation, University of Aveiro, Aveiro].

Ardila, R., Gouveia, V., & Medeiros, E. (2012). Human values of Colombian people. Evidence for the functionalist theory of values. Revista Lationoamericana de Psicología, 44(3), 105–117.

Bardi, A., Buchanan, K. E., Goodwin, R., Slabu, L., & Robinson, M. (2014). Value stability and change during self-chosen life transitions: Self-selection versus socialization effects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 131–147.

Bardi, A., & Goodwin, R. (2011). The dual route to value change: Individual processes and cultural moderators. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42, 271–287.

Bilsky, W., Janik, M., & Schwartz, S. H. (2011). The structural organization of human values—Evidence from three rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS). Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42, 759–776.

Byrne, M. (2010). Structural equation modeling with Amos: Basic concepts, applications and programming (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Carneiro, M. J., & Malta, P.A. (2007). The higher education students’ tourism market: The role of Portugal in international mobility flows. Revista Turismo & Desenvolvimento, 7(8), 241–253.

Chen, F. (2007). Sensitivity of goodness of fit indexes to lack of measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling, 14, 464–504.

Cheung, G., & Rensvold, R. (2002). Evaluating goodness-of-fit indexes for testing measurement invariance: Structural equation modeling. A Multidisciplinary Journal, 9, 233–255.

Cieciuch, J., & Schwartz, S. (2012). The number of distinct basic values and their structure assessed by PVQ-40. Journal of Personality Assessment, 94, 321–328.

Coelho, S., & Casaca, S. F. (2017). Jovens estudantes universitários/as perante a futura vida profissional e familiar: A marca do género [Young university students facing their future professional and family life: The gender mark]. Ex aequo, 36, 59–75.

Commandeur, J. (1991). Matching configurations. DSWO Press.

Crace, R. K, & Brown, D. (1996). The Life Values Inventory. Life Values Resources.

Direção-Geral de Estatísticas da Educação e Ciência. (2018a). Registo de alunos inscritos e diplomados do ensino superior [Registration of enrolled and graduated students of higher education]. Retrieved January 28, 2019 from

Direção-Geral de Estatísticas da Educação e Ciência. (2018b). Principais resultados do RAIDES 17—Inscritos 2017/18 e Mobilidade Internacional [Main results of RAIDES 17—Enrolled 2017/2018 and international mobility]. Retrieved January 28, 2019 from

Echter, T., Kim, U., Kau, C.-V. J., Li, H.-C., Simmons, C., & Ward, C. (1998). A comparative study in the levels of human values: People’s Republic of China, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 1, 271–288.

Emigration Observatory Highlight (2018). Retrieved January 28, 2019,

Faour, M. (2000). The silent revolution in Lebanon: Changing values of the youth. American University of Beirut.

Fernandes, C. (2012). Validação da versão portuguesa da Escala de Valores numa amostra de estudantes universitários [Validation of the Portuguese Values Scale with a sample of college students; Unpublished master dissertation, Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra].

Fischer, R., Milfont, T. L., & Gouveia, V. (2011). Does social context affect value structures? Testing the within-country stability of value structures with a functional theory of values. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42, 253– 270.

Fjaer, E. G., Pedersen, W., von Soest, T., & Gray, P. (2016). When is it OK to be drunk? Situational and cultural variations in the acceptability of visible intoxication in the UK and Norway. The International Journal on Drug Policy, 29, 27–32.

Fontaine, J. R. J., Poortinga, Y. H., Delbeke, L., & Schwartz, S. H. (2008). Structural equivalence of the values domain across cultures: Distinguishing sampling fluctuations from meaningful variation. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39, 345–365.

Garson, D. (2012). Testing statistical assumptions. Statistical Associates Publishing.

Ghorbani, N., Watson, P., Krauss, W., Bing, M., & Davison, H. (2004). Social science as dialogue: Narcissism, individualist and collectivist values, and religious interest in Iran and the United States. Current Psychology,1(1), 112–123.

Gouveia, V. (1998). La naturaleza de los valores descriptores del individualismo e del colectivismo: Una comparación intra e intercultural [The nature of values descriptors of individualism and collectivism: An intra- and intercultural comparison; Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain].

Gouveia, V. (2003). A natureza motivacional dos valores humanos: Evidências acerca de uma nova tipologia [The motivational nature of human values: Evidence about a new typology]. Estudos de Psicologia, 8(3), 431–443.

Gouveia, V. (2013). Teoria funcional dos valores humanos: fundamentos, aplicações e perspectivas [Functional theory of human values: Fundaments, applications and perspectives]. Casa do Psicólogo.

Gouveia, V., Milfont, T., Fischer, R., & Coelho, J. (2009). Teoria funcionalista dos valores humanos: Aplicações para organizações [Functionalist theory of human values: Applications to organizations]. Revista de Administração Mackenzie, 10, 34–59.

Gouveia, V., Milfont, T., & Guerra, V. (2014). Functional theory of human values: Testing its content and structure hypotheses. Personality and Individual Differences, 60, 41–47.

Gouveia, V., Milfont, T., Vione, K., & Santos, (2015). Guiding actions and expressing needs: On the psychological functions of values. Psykhe, 24, 1–14.

Gouveia, V., Santos, W., Milfont, T., Fischer, R., Clemente, M., & Espinosa, P. (2010). Teoría funcionalista de los valores humanos en España: Comprobación de las hipótesis de contenido y estructura [Functionalist theory of human values in Spain: Testing the content and structure hypotheses]. Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 44(2), 203–214.

Gu, M.-L. (2013). Inglehart-Welzel’s traditional vs. rational index revisited: A comparison between China and the West. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 16, 213–227.

Hanel, P. (2016). Human values and value instantiations: Similarities and differences between countries and their implications [Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Cardiff, Cardiff].

Hanel, P. H. P., Litzellachner, L., & Maio, G. R. (2018). An empirical comparison of human value models. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1–14.

Hanel, P. H. P., Maio, G. R., Soares, A. K. S.,Vione, K. C., Coelho, G. L. H., Gouveia, V. V., Patil, A. C., Kamble, S., & Manstead, A. S. R. (2018). Cross-cultural differences and similarities in human value instantiation. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 849–862.

Hanel, P. H. P., Woldradt, U., Coelho, G., Wolf, L., Vilar, R., Monteiro, R., Gouveia, V., Crompton, T., & Maio, G. (2018). The perception of family, city, and country values is often biased. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 49, 831–850.

Harb, C. (2010). Describing the Lebanese youth: A national and psycho-social survey. In The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (Eds.), Youth in the Arab World Working Paper Series 3 (pp. 1–30). American University of Beirut.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Sage.

Inglehart, R. (1977). The silent revolution: Changing values and political styles among Western publics. Princeton University Press.

Itani, T., Fischer, F., & Chu, J. J. (2018). The lifetime prevalence of exposure to community violence among Lebanese university students: Association with behavioural and mental health correlates. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 23, 259–267.

Jardim, M. H., Junior, G., & Alves, M. (2017). Values in students of higher education. Creative Education, 8, 1682–1693.

Jarrar, A. (2013). Moral values education in terms of graduate university students’ perspectives: A Jordanian sample. International Education Studies, 6, 136–147.

Khashan, H. (1990). The political values of Lebanese Maronite college students. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1, 723–744.

Kline, B. (2005). Principles and practice of structural equation modelling. The Guilford Press.

Li, J., Wang, Y., Liu, X., Xu, Y., & Cui, T. (2018). Academic adaptation among international students from East Asian countries: A consensual qualitative research. Journal of International Students, 8, 194–214.

Lönnqvist, J., Jasinskaja-Lahti, I., & Verkasalo, M. (2011). Personal values before and after migration: A longitudinal case study on value change in Ingrian-Finnish migrants. Social Psychological & Personality Science, 2, 584–591.

Loo, B. (2017). Education in Lebanon. Retrieved January 28, 2019 from

Marques, C., Silva, A. D., & Taveira, M. C. (2018). Testing functional theory of values with students living in residential care institutions. Revista PSICOLOGIA, 32, 79–86.

Marques, C., Silva, A. D., Taveira, M. C., & Gouveia, V. (2016). Functional theory of values: Results of a confirmatory factor analysis with Portuguese youth. Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 50(3), 392–401.

Maslow, E. D. (1954). Motivation and personality. Harper and Row.

Medeiros, E. (2011). Teoria funcionalista dos valores humanos:Testando sua adequação intra e interculturalmente [Functional theory of human values: Testing its adequacy within and between cultures; Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa].

Mesidor, J. K., & Sly, K. F. (2016). Factors that contribute to the adjustment of international students. Journal of International Students, 6(1), 262–282.

Moaddel, M., Khashan, H., Garde, J., & Kors, J. (2008). Ethnicity and values among the Lebanese public: Findings from a values survey.

Mohamed, A., Elebrashi, R., & Saad, M. (2019). A test of the functional theory of human values in Egypt. The Social Science Journal, 56(l), 118–126.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2018). Education at a glance 2018: OECD Indicators.

Parks-Leduc, L., Feldman, G., & Bardi, A. (2014). Personality traits and personal values: A meta-analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 19, 3–29.

Perez-Encinas, A., & Ammigan, R. (2016). Support services at Spanish and U.S. institutions: A driver for international student satisfaction. Journal of International Students, 6(4), 984–998.

Pires, L. (2012). Representações sociais dos valores dos estudantes universitários Portugueses [Social representations of values with Portuguese college students; Unpublished master dissertation, University of Aveiro, Aveiro].

Quintão, A. (2018). Life career profiles: values’ functions, career exploration and satisfaction in international students [Unpublished master dissertation, University of Minho, Braga].

Ralston, D., Egri, C., Riddle, L., Butt, A., Dalgic, T., & Brock, D. (2012). Managerial values in the greater Middle East: Similarities and differences across seven countries. International Business Review, 21, 480–492.

Reeskens, T., & Vandecasteele, L. (2017). Hard times and European youth. The effect of economic insecurity on human values, social attitudes and well-being. International Journal of Psychology, 52, 19–27.

Rokeach, M. (1973). The nature of human values. Free Press.

Rump, M., Esdar, W., & Wild, E. (2017). Individual differences in the effects of academic motivation on higher education students’ intention to drop out. European Journal of Higher Education, 7, 1–15.

Sakalli, N. (2002). The relationship between sexism and attitudes toward homosexuality in a sample of Turkish college students. Journal of Homosexuality, 42, 53–64.

Sanchez-Ruiz, M., & Baaklini, A. (2018). Individual and social correlates of aggressive behavior in Lebanese undergraduates: The role of trait emotional intelligence. The journal of Social Psychology, 158, 350–360.

Schwartz, S. (1992). Universal in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. In M. P. Zanna (Eds.), Advanced in experimental social psychology (pp. 1–65). Academic Press.

Schwartz, S. H. (2012). An Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Unit 2. Retrieved from

Schwartz, S. H., Cieciuch, J., Vecchione, M., Davidov, E., Fischer, R., Beierlein, Barros, A., Verkasalo, M., Lonnqvist, J., Demirutku, K., Dirilen-gumus, O., Konty, M. (2012). Refining the theory of basic individual values. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 663–688.

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell L. S. (2013). Using multivariate statistics (6th ed.). Harper & Row Publishers.

Triandis, H. C. (2018). Individualism and collectivism. Routledge.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2015). United nations development programme human development reports. Retrieved February 21, 2019 from

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2018). Retrieved May 31, 2018, from

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (2016). Syria regional refugee response. Retrieved June 9, 2018, from

van de Vijver, F. J. R., & Leung, K. (1997). Methods and data analysis for cross-cultural research. Sage.

Welzel, C., Inglehart, R., & Klingemann, H. D. (2003). The theory of human development: A cross-cultural analysis. European Journal of Political Research, 42, 341–379.

Yakaboski, T., Perez-Velez, K., & Almutairi, Y. (2017). Collectivists’ decision-making: Saudi abroad choices. Journal of International Students, 7(1), 94–112.

Yan, L., & Pei, S. (2018). “Home away from home”? How international students handle difficult and negative experiences in American higher education. Journal of International Students, 8, 453–472.




How to Cite

Marques, C., do Céu Taveira, M., El Nayal, M., Silva, A. D., & Gouveia, V. (2020). Life Values Among Lebanese and Portuguese College Students: A Cross-Cultural Comparison. Journal of International Students, 10(1), 159–180.



Research Articles