The respect pyramid: A model of respect based on lay knowledge in two cultures

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Respect is a common social concept, yet how lay people define it has not been thoroughly investigated. This study used a grounded theory approach, using in-depth interviews, to conceptualize respect according to lay knowledge. 40 participants from two cultures in the Middle East—20 Jewish Israelis and 20 Palestinians—reported how they define respect (Kavod in Hebrew and Ihtiram in Arabic). The findings define respect as a complex, multidimensional concept. Based on the findings, a respect pyramid model was developed, which includes four dimensions: avoiding disrespect, deserved/normative respect, conditional respect, and considerate respect. Each dimension indicates an increase in aspects that make the respect less conditional and more intrinsic, while requiring higher sensitivity and greater effort. The implications of the respect pyramid for relationships and the cultural differences regarding definitions of respect are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-95
Number of pages15
JournalCulture and Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Respect
  • grounded theory
  • in-depth interviews
  • individualism-collectivism
  • lay knowledge

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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