On the Role of Security in the System of Personal Values: Are Conservatives Prioritizing Security?


  • Ingwer Borg

    Fachrichtung Psychologie, Westfälische-Wilhelms-Universität, Fliednerstr. 21, Münster, 48149, Germany




Security is a value contained in most theories of personal values. Yet, while the relations among the most basic values are clear and reliable, the role of security in the system of values remains ambiguous. People striving for security are often also striving for tradition and conformity but sometimes they are focusing more on other values (such as health values, for example). Based on eight representative surveys (N = 24,000) in several German cities between 1998 and 2022, the author shows that when measuring security without suggesting a particular meaning of this notion, security takes a relatively central position within the system of values and their components (shown by multidimensional scaling, MDS). People striving for security also emphasize the importance of law and order, working hard, and having a good family life as guiding principles in their lives. Conformity is not that important for them, and having an exciting life is even negatively correlated. Age has little impact on the MDS structure of values and their components, even though people exhibit substantial changes in the relative weights they assign to many values as they get older.


Personal values, Security, Value circle, Age, Gender, Multidimensional scaling


[1] Schwartz, S.H., Bilsky, W., 1987. Toward a universal psychological structure of human values. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 53(3), 550-562. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.53.3.550

[2] Maio, G.R., 2010. Mental representations of social values. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. 42, 1-43. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(10)42001-8

[3] Fischer, R., 2017. Personality, values, culture. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316091944

[4] Schwartz, S.H., Bilsky, W., 1990. Toward a theory of the universal content and structure of values: Extensions and cross-cultural replications. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 58, 878-891. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0023514.58.5.878

[5] Schwartz, S., Cieciuch, J., Vecchione, M., et al., 2012. Refining the theory of basic individual values. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 103, 663-688. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0029393

[6] Biber, P., Hupfeld, J., Meier, L.L., 2008. Personal values and relational models. European Journal of Personality. 22, 609-628. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/per.693

[7] Borg, I., Herman, D., Bilsky, W., 2017. A closer look at personal values and delinquency. Personality and Individual Differences. 116, 171-178. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.04.043

[8] Schwartz, S.H., 2003. A proposal for measuring value orientations across nations. Questionnaire Development Package of the European Social Survey. pp. 259-319. Available from: https://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/docs/methodology/core_ess_questionnaire/ESS_core_questionnaire_human_values.pdf

[9] Hermann, D., 2014. Individuelle reflexive Werte (German) [Individual reflexive values]. Available from: https://zis.gesis.org/skala/Hermann-Individuelle-reflexive-Werte

[10] Borg, I., Hertel, G., Hermann, D., 2017. Age and personal values: Similar value circles with shifting priorities. Psychology and Ageing. 32, 636-641. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000196

[11] Borg, I., 2019. Age- and gender-related differences in the structure and the meaning of personal values. Personality and Individual Differences. 138, 336-343. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.10.013

[12] Borg, I., Hermann, D., Bilsky, W., et al., 2019. Do the PVQ and the IRVS scales for personal values support Schwartz’s value circle model or Klages’ value dimensions model? Measurement Instruments for the Social Sciences. 2(3), 1-14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s42409-018-0004-2

[13] Schwartz, S.H., 2012. An overview of the Schwartz theory of basic values. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture. 2(1), 2307-0919. DOI: https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1116

[14] Schwartz, S.H., 2017. The refined theory of basic values. Values and behavior: Taking a cross cultural perspective. Springer International Publishing: Berlin. pp. 51-72. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56352-7_3

[15] Hanel, P.H.P., Litzellachner, L.F., Maio, G.R., 2018. An empirical comparison of human value models. Frontiers in Psychology. 9, 1643. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01643

[16] Schwartz, S.H., 2021. A repository of Schwartz value scales with instructions and an introduction. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture. 2(2), 9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1173

[17] Rokeach, M., 1973. The nature of human values. The Free Press: New York.

[18] Haslam, N., 2004. Relational models theory: A contemporary overview. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.: Mahwah.

[19] Aavik, T., Allik, J., 2002. The structure of Estonian personal values: A lexical approach. European Journal of Personality. 16(3), 221-235. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/per.439

[20] Renner, W., 2003. Human values: A lexical perspective. Personality and Individual Differences. 34, 127-141. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00037-5

[21] Ponizovskiy, V., Ardag, M., Grigoryan, L., et al., 2020. Development and validation of the personal values dictionary: A theory-driven tool for investigating references to basic human values in text. European Journal of Personality. 34(5), 885-902. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2294

[22] Maslow, A.H., 1942. The dynamics of psychological security-insecurity. Character & Personality; A Quarterly for Psychodiagnostic & Allied Studies, 10, 331–344. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1942.tb01911.x

[23] Dzhamalova, B.B., Magomedov, G.B., Amirkhanov, A.A., et al., 2016. Anthropological mechanisms of self-management of personality behavior. International Review of Management and Marketing. 6(2), 383-389. Available from: https://econjournals.com/index.php/irmm/article/view/2175

[24] Belic, J., Djordjevic, A., Nikitović, T., et al., 2022. The diversity of value construal: A constructivist approach to the Schwartz theory of basic values. Journal of Constructivist Psychology. 35(4), 1276-1300. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10720537.2021.19

[25] Restle, F., 1959. A metric and an ordering on sets. Psychometrika. 24, 207-220. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02289843

[26] Willis, G.B., 2005. Cognitive interviewing: A tool for improving questionnaire design. SAGE Publications, Inc.: Thousand Oaks, CA.

[27] Allen, M.S., Iliescu, D., Greiff, S., 2022. Single item measures in psychological science: A call to action. European Journal of Psychological Assessment. 38(1), 1-5. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1027/1015-5759/a000699

[28] Fisher, G.G., Matthews, R.A., Gibbons, A.M., 2016. Developing and investigating the use of single-item measures in organizational research. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 21(1), 3-23. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039139

[29] Matthews, R.A., Pineault, L., Hong, Y.H., 2022. Normalizing the use of single-item measures: Validation of the single-item compendium for organizational psychology. Journal of Business and Psychology. 37, 639-673. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-022-09813-3

[30] Nagy, M.S., 2002. Using a single-item approach to measure facet job satisfaction. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. 75(1), 77-86. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1348/096317902167658

[31] Wanous, J.P., Reichers, A.E., Hudy, M.J., 1997. Overall job satisfaction: How good are single-item measures? Journal of Applied Psychology. 82(2), 247-252. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.82.2.247

[32] Borg, I., Bardi, A., Schwartz, S., 2017. Does the value circle exist within persons or only across persons? Journal of Personality. 85(2), 151-162. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12228

[33] Schwartz, S.H., Lifschitz, T.R., 2005. Sex differences in value priorities: Cross-cultural and multi-method studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 89(6), 1010-1028. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.89.6.1010

[34] Hermann, D. & Wachter, E. 2020. Pforzheimer Sicherheitsaudit 2020. [Security audit in Pforzheim.] http://www.praeventionsverein-pf.de/sicherheitsaudit-2020.pdf

[35] Jowell, R., Roberts, C., Fitzgerald, R., et al., 2007. Measuring attitudes cross-nationally: Lessons from the European Social Survey. Sage: London.

[36] Schmidt, P., Bamberg, S., Davidov, E., et al., 2007. Die messung von werten mit dem “Portraits Value Questionnaire” (German) [The measurement of values with the “Portrait Value Questionnaire”]. Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie. 38(4), 261-275.

[37] The R Project for Statistical Computing [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 4]. Available from: http://www.R-project.org/

[38] De Leeuw, J., Mair, P., 2009. Multidimensional scaling using majorization: SMACOF in R. Journal of Statistical Software. 31(3), 1-30. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v031.i03

[39] Mair, P., Borg, I., Rusch, T., 2016. Goodness-of-fit assessment in multidimensional scaling and unfolding. Multivariate Behavioral Research. 51, 772-789. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00273171.2016.1235966

[40] Borg, I., Groenen, P.J.F., Mair, P., 2018. Applied multidimensional scaling and unfolding (2nd ed.). Springer: New York. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73471-2

[41] Borg, I., Mair, P., 2022. A note on Procrustean fittings of noisy configurations. Austrian Journal of Statistics. 51(4), 1-9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17713/ajs.v51i4.1423

[42] Borg, I., Hermann, D., 2021. Inside and outside perspectives on the relation of people’s personal values and their acceptance of legal norms. Macro Management & Public Policies. 3(4), 1-13. Available from: https://ojs.bilpublishing.com/index.php/mmpp/article/view/4178

[43] Schwartz, S.H., 1992. Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. 25, 1-65. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60281-6


How to Cite

Borg, I. (2023). On the Role of Security in the System of Personal Values: Are Conservatives Prioritizing Security?. Macro Management & Public Policies, 5(2), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.30564/mmpp.v5i2.5603





Download data is not yet available.