Relationship Between Mentality Type And Generational Identification Type


The relevance of the study of generational mentality is dictated by theoretical and practical tasks. Empirical studies of the relationship between the type of mentality and the type of generational identification are necessary to confirm the existence of the generational phenomenon. They will justify the development of a system of training, relations in labor collectives, marketing plans taking into account the differences of generations. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to study the types of the mentality of people who identify themselves with different generations. The methodological basis of the study was the concept of the mentality of generations by Pishchik. 168 people aged of 17 to 72 took part in the study, 53 males and 115 females. "Mentality Type Measurement Technique" (MITM, Pishchik) was used to diagnose the mentality type of study participants. Belonging to a generation was determined on the basis of respondents’ self-accounts about the similarity of their own values with those of different generations. The choice was limited to one generation. The results of the study proved that there is a relationship between the type of mentality and the type of generational identification. People who refer to the post-war and Soviet generations are more likely to have a traditional type of mentality. People who identify with themselves the post-Soviet generation often have an innovative type of mentality. Among people identifying with the transition generation, traditional and innovative types of mentality are equally common.

Keywords: Generation psychologygeneration identificationgenerational mentalitypost-Soviet generationSoviet generationtransitional generation


The processes of globalization and digitalization are leading to dramatic changes in people 's world views. Researchers recognize that differentiation of society by basic demographic characteristics (such as sex and age) does not always allow one to characterize features of human behavior. There is a search for new grounds for highlighting large communities of people, with similar types of mentality. Howe and Strauss (1991) proposed generational theory as a new approach for explaining socio-psychological phenomena and processes. At the heart of this theory is the idea that the human worldview is shaped by the socio-historical context of the time in which it grew. The fact that dramatic socio-economic, political and technological changes in society have a huge impact on the formation of mentality gives particular relevance to the study of generational mentality.

Any theory needs confirmation. However, the phenomenon of generational theory is that even before scientific confirmation there were many options for its practical implementation (Dam et al., 2017). In the scientific world, there is a paradoxical picture: on the one hand, there is a discussion about whether there are real differences between generations (Rudolph & Zacher, 2017); on the other hand, recommendations are developed on how to use the resources of each generation in practical activities: in learning (Dam et al., 2017), in professional activities (Yakimova & Masilova, 2017), in marketing (Astashova, 2014). This paradox leads to a wide discussion of issues related to the scientific study of generations. One is the study of the relationship between the type of mentality and the type of generational identification.

Problem Statement

According to the theory of generation, each generational group is characterized by unique values and relationships (Postnikova, 2019), has clear features of mentality (Pishchik, 2018). Research indicates that generational mentalities are being transformed. This process affected personal (Marcus et al., 2017), family (Hu & Scott, 2016), managerial (Jonck et al., 2016) and labor (Kalleberg & Marsden, 2019) values.

The specificity of studying the characteristics of generational mentalities is evident in two aspects: 1) the analysis of values as a systemic element of mentality; 2) comparing people born in different years. In fact, the results of research confirm that in Russia there are differences in individual values among representatives of different cohorts of birth: young people prefer values that express the interests of the individual. Older generations value the interests of the group more (Sivrikova et al., 2019). At the same time, many studies rely either on a comparison of two age groups (Fedotova, 2017) or on a comparison of data of the same age groups obtained in different years (Tazov, 2015). Such an organization of research has significant limitations. The fear is that the comparison of birth cohorts is not enough to draw conclusions about differences in the types of mentalities of generations, as in this case the age factor and the generation factor are not differentiated. Furthermore, the division into 2 age groups does not reflect the diversity of all the generations actually represented in society.

Thus, on the one hand, there is evidence to suggest that a generation as a community of people is characterized by a certain type of mentality. On the other hand, it is unclear whether these differences are specific to generations and not to different age groups.

In solving this problem, scientists consider the subjective differentiation of generations on the basis of social identification (Lyons et al., 2019). An example is a social constructivist approach to the analysis of intergenerational differences (Twenge, 2017). In this case, the question of how people perceive different generations and which one refers to themselves becomes important. It is believed that man belongs to the generation whose values he shares.

The problem of self-determination of the individual through generational attribution is traditionally seen as a problem of social identification (Lyons et al., 2019). Part of social identification is generational identification, i.e., the perception of yourself as a member of a certain generation. In scientific literature, the problem of generational identification is only devoted to individual studies (Lyons & Schweitzer, 2017), which revealed significant heterogeneity in identification with the generation. Therefore, it can be assumed that when examining the differences between generations, an approach based on the division of a sample based on identification with a generation rather than on the year of birth of a person will be more justified.

Research Questions

Studying the types of mentality in the context of the generational theory requires solving two theoretical questions. The first concerns the typology of generations, and the second – typology of generational mentality.

From a theoretical perspective, generational cohorts are often organized around key historical events. Consequently, in different countries, because of differences in the historical path, society is divided into different generations. In Western countries, there are 6 different generations: a generation of veterans; generation of a population explosion; generation X; Generation Y or Millennials and Generation Z or Post-Millennials (Howe & Strauss, 1991). Generations are being studied in China: the cultural revolution, social reforms and the millennium or one-child generation (Jun et al., 2018). In Russia, different views on generational typology can be found. Postnikov speaks about 5 generations: post-war; Generation of "sixties," generation of "stagnation"; generation of "reorganization"; Post-Soviet generation (Postnikova, 2016). The studies of Pishchik considers 3 generations of Russians: Soviet, transitional and post-Soviet (Pishchik, 2018).

This study is based on the idea that events such as the Great Patriotic War and the Collapse of the USSR had the greatest influence on Russian citizens. Therefore, four generations are now represented in Russian society: the post-war generation, the Soviet generation, the transitional generation, the post-Soviet generation. Their birth, formation, and development took place in conditions significantly different in ideology, economic stability, general international tension, level of technology, which inevitably influenced the formation of mentality.

The person in the course of self-determination carries himself to one of the generations, therefore, it is possible to allocate 4 types of generational identification: identification with the post-war generation, identification with the Soviet generation, identification with transitional generation and identification with Post-Soviet generation.

When analyzing generational mentalities, researchers rely on different classifications of mentalities. For example, Balabanova and Voronina (as cited in Pishchik, 2010), described 5 types of mentality: consensual; tolerant and egoistical; dissensialistic; aggressive and altruistic; "Post-Soviet". Ilyayeva and Giryakova (2012) highlight three types of generational mentalities: McDonald 's, mosaic and "wisdom". The starting points for highlighting the types of mentality in the Pishchik’s (2018) concept there are two poles: traditions as a form of social inheritance and innovation as a "form of deviation, nonconformism". In the author 's typology, the criteria for differences in the types of mentality were the features of the archetype, the way of the world, the way of life, relationships, interactions and the style of thinking. The combination of these criteria defined traditional, transitional, innovative and post-innovation mentalities.

We have not been able to find empirical evidence about the typology of the mentality of people identifying with a generation. Few of the authors analyse the mentality of people of different ages. For example, the results of studies of Pishchik (2010) showed that the Soviet generation shows mainly the traditional types of mentality, and the post-Soviet generation shows an innovative type of mentality. But in this study, generational affiliation was determined only on the basis of objective (date of birth) criteria.

Thus, little is currently known about the relationship between mentality types and generational identification types.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to study the types of the mentality of people who identify with different generations.

Research Methods

168 people participated in the study. Of these, 53 are men and 115 are women living in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The age of respondents ranged from 17 to 72 years old. The demographic characteristics of the sample are shown in table 01 .

Table 1 -
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"Mentality Type Measurement Technique" (MTMT, Pishchik) was used to diagnose the mentality type of study participants (Pishchik, 2010). Belonging to a generation was determined on the basis of respondents 'self-accounts about the similarity of their own values with those of different generations. The choice was limited to one generation.

Kramer 's Test V was used to mathematically process the results of the study


The results of the analysis of the characteristics of generation identification in the analyzed sample are presented in Table 02 . Among the participants of the study there is a prevalence of identification with Soviet (32.1 %) and transitional (32.7 %) generations. The least featured in the sample examined is people identifying with the post-war generation.

Table 2 -
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Analysis of the relationship between the age of respondents and their generational identification showed that congruent identification (age matches the type of generational identification) is more often represented in all age groups than non-congruent identification (age does not match the type of generational identification). At the same time, 43.6 % of older people (more than 60 years old) themselves refer to the Soviet generation. This may be because, in people 's representations, the difference in values of these two generations is not great or possible, as foreign researchers point out (Parry & Urwin, 2017), the assumption of 4 or 5 generation categories is not productive enough for empirical research. This issue requires clarification and additional research into the peculiarities of perception of different generations.

Table 3 shows the mentalities of the study participants. It turned out that the traditional type of mentality (57.7 %) is more common in the sample studied. The second most common type of mentality was innovative (38.1 %). Transition and post-innovation types of mentality were rare (1.8 and 2.4 %, respectively).

Table 3 -
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The study analyzed the strength and significance of the relationship between the type of mentality and the type of generation identification. The use of Kramer's Test V made it possible to establish the presence of an average force link between the variables under study (V=0,335; р=0,0001).

Thus, the results of the study suggest that there is a relationship between the type of mentality and the type of generational identification. People who refer to the post-war and Soviet generations have a traditional type of mentality. People who identify with the post-Soviet generation often have an innovative type of mentality. Among people identifying with the transition generation, traditional and innovative types of mentality are equally common. Transitional and post-innovation types of mentality are rarely found among members of any generation


The results of the study confirmed the basic ideas of the concept of generational mentality, according to which representatives of the Soviet generation show mainly traditional type of mentality, and of the post-Soviet generation – mainly innovative type of mentality (Pishchik, 2010). We have been able to supplement this data with information on the peculiarities of the mentality of the transitional generation. According to our study, traditional and innovative types of mentality are equally common among people who identify with the transition generation.

The results of the study suggest that Russian society has little representation of transitional and post-innovation types of mentality too. Further research should, therefore, focus on differences in traditional and innovative mentalities. These differences relate primarily to the orientation towards individual values and needs or to the interests of the group. Under traditional mentality, man is dominated by the values of vertical collectivism. With an innovative mentality, the values of stability and horizontal individualism dominate (Pishchik, 2010). The fact that older generations value group interests more and younger generations value the interests of the individual is said by the results of many researchers (Fedotova, 2017; Tazov, 2015). Our study shows that these trends apply not only to the value system but also to other components of mentality.

It should be noted that the study presented has a number of limitations. First of all, the sex composition of the sample is a concern. The significant prevalence of women have influenced the results of the study even though our study did not establish a gender dependence of the type of mentality. Also, the difficulties of interpretation are due to the fact that despite the uniform age composition of the sample, the number of people identifying themselves with the post-war generation was less than could be expected. In this regard, we consider it necessary to continue the study in the older age group.

Despite these limitations, the results of the study are of interest for the development of generational theory. They show the need to review the approach to generational mentality classification. A small proportion of people with post-innovation and transition types of mentality makes it possible to propose to consider the peculiarities of generational mentality in terms of dichotomy: tradition-innovation.


The study was carried out with the financial support of RFBR. Project № 18-013-00910 “Dynamics of values of generations as a marker of the transformation of social relations in Russian society”.


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