Cultural identity, worldview and communication style among Norwegian-Americans: Implications for counseling and psychotherapy

Date of Completion

January 2001


Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies




This research examined the cultural identity, worldview and communication style of Norwegian-Americans. The results of the research provide identifying cultural markers for Norwegian-American culture. The sample consisted of immigrant first and second generation Norwegian-Americans that were members of The Sons of Norway fraternal organization. The comparison group was a randomly selected group of US citizens selected from telephone directories. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to determine whether there were differences in worldview or communication apprehension among the target population and the comparison group. ^ The MANOVA compared the five dependent variables (Optimistic Worldview, Traditional Worldview, Pessimistic Worldview, Here and Now Worldview; and the total score for The Personal Report of Communication Lisa Marie Tonnessen-University of Connecticut, 2001 Apprehension) across two groups, Norwegian-Americans and a comparison group of US citizens. No significant differences were found between Norwegian-Americans and mainstream US citizens on the four identified worldviews as measured by the Scale to Assess Worldview© (Ibrahim & Kahn, 1984, 1987). The primary worldview of the Norwegian-American sample was Optimistic and the secondary worldview was found to be Pessimistic. Statistically significant differences in communication apprehension were found as measured by The Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (McCroskey, 1978) between Norwegian-Americans and mainstream US citizens, with Norwegian-Americans being identified as more apprehensive than the comparison group, as originally hypothesized. ^ Results of the research help clarify the worldview and communication style of Norwegian-Americans in general. In addition, the research results show that Norwegian-Americans culture, and mainstream American culture shares a high degree of similarity confirming that US culture is derived from western European roots. This also implies that generic counseling theories and strategies would be helpful for Norwegian-Americans. The results also show that Norwegian-Americans have higher communication apprehension than mainstream Americans. Implications of this finding are significant for the counseling process that must be employed with this population. ^