The Effects of Self-Enhancement and Self-Improvement on Recovery From Stress Differ Across Cultural Groups

William Tsai, Jessica J. Chiang, Anna S. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Extant research shows that individuals can reflect either adaptively or maladaptively over negative experiences. However, few studies have examined how culture influences this process. We examined the effects of self-enhancement and self-improvement reflection on emotional and physiological recovery from a laboratory social stressor among 56 Asian Americans (interdependent cultural group) and 58 European Americans (independent cultural group). The extent to which people gained emotional and physiological benefits from self-reflection depended on whether the self-reflection processes were congruent with individuals’ heritage cultural backgrounds. When there was a cultural match, participants showed improved emotional recovery, quicker return to baseline levels of cortisol, and greater persistence following the stressor. These findings provide evidence suggesting culturally distinct processes through which individuals recover from negative experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

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Keywords

  • cortisol
  • culture
  • negative affect
  • persistence
  • self-reflection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

The Effects of Self-Enhancement and Self-Improvement on Recovery From Stress Differ Across Cultural Groups. / Tsai, William; Chiang, Jessica J.; Lau, Anna S.

In: Social Psychological and Personality Science, Vol. 7, No. 1, 01.01.2016, p. 21-28.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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