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On being a good American: Blind versus constructive patriotism

Robert T Schatz, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Patriotism has a powerful impact on the course of human events. Yet, very little empirical research in psychology has investigated patriotism. The present research explores the nature of patriotic beliefs, affect, and behaviors. Of particular interest is the potential multidimensionality of patriotic attitudes. More specifically, Staub's (1991) theoretical distinction between "blind" and "constructive" patriotism is explored. Blind patriotism is defined as a relationship with country characterized by rigid identification, global positive evaluation, staunch allegiance, and intolerance of criticism. Constructive patriotism is defined as a relationship with country characterized by a more flexible identification, support for constructive criticism, and a desire to implement positive change. Two empirical studies are discussed. Study 1 provides evidence for the multidimensionality of patriotic attitudes. In Study 2, measures of blind and constructive patriotism are developed, and the reliability and validity of these measures are assessed. Blind and constructive patriotism are then contrasted by examining their relationships with other constructs, most notably, nationalism and internationalism, perceptions of national vulnerability, religious and value orientations, and varied measures of political involvement.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Personality|International law|International relations

Recommended Citation

Schatz, Robert T, "On being a good American: Blind versus constructive patriotism" (1994). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9510537.