The current dissertation explores how culture influences emotion regulation by examining the ways in which self-construal (independent vs. interdependent) relates to the frequency and consequences of ego- and other-focused emotional suppression. A series of hypotheses were tested using a cross-cultural comparison of Singaporean and U.S. American participants (Study 1) and by priming self-construal (Study 2). Results show that Singaporeans suppressed other-focused emotions more frequently than U.S. Americans. Mediation analyses indicate that the effect of country on the frequency of other-focused emotional suppression operated partially through self-construal. Furthermore, self-construal orientation was found to moderate the effects of both ego- and other-focused emotional suppression on psychological and interpersonal adjustment. Results from Study 1 indicate that suppression of other-focused emotions is deleterious to the psychological well-being of Singaporeans with a less salient independent self but not to the psychological well-being of Singaporeans with a more salient independent self. Moreover, Singaporeans with a more salient independent self reported lower psychological well-being as the frequency of ego-focused emotional suppression increased. The latter result was replicated in Study 2, with priming of independent and interdependent self-construal in a sample of U.S. undergraduate students. These findings are interpreted within a cultural psychological framework, and implications involving mental health and cross-cultural communication are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2008. Major: Psychology. Advisor: Richard M. Lee, Ph.D., L.P. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 99 pages.
Su, Jenny Chen-Yi.
The role of culture in the link between emotional suppression and well-being..
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