Is perceived emotional support beneficial? Well-being and health in independent and interdependent cultures
Uchida, Yukiko × Kitayama, Shinobu Mesquita, Batja Reyes, Jose Alberto S. Morling, Beth #
Personality & social psychology bulletin vol:34 issue:6 pages:741-754
Previous studies show there is little or no association between perceived emotional support and well-being in European American culture. The authors hypothesized that this paradoxical absence of any benefit of perceived support is unique to cultural contexts that privilege independence rather than interdependence of the self. Study 1 tested college students and found, as predicted, that among Euro-Americans a positive effect of perceived emotional support on subjective well-being (positive affect) was weak and, moreover, it disappeared entirely once self-esteem was statistically controlled. In contrast, among Asians in Asia (Japanese and Filipinos) perceived emotional support positively predicted subjective well-being even after self-esteem was controlled. Study 2 extended Study 1 by testing both Japanese and American adults in midlife with respect to multiple indicators of well-being and physical health. Overall, the evidence underscores the central significance of culture as a moderator of the effectiveness of perceived emotional support.