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Cultural Variability in the Association Between Age and Well-Being: The Role of Uncertainty Avoidance

  • Author(s): Lawrie, Smaranda Ioana
  • Advisor(s): Kim, Heejung S
  • et al.
Abstract

Past research found a mixed relationship between age and subjective well-being. The current research advances the understanding of these findings by incorporating a cultural perspective. We tested whether the relationship between age and well-being is moderated by uncertainty avoidance (UA), a cultural dimension that deals with a society’s tolerance for ambiguity. In Study 1, using a multilevel approach with a large international database (N = 61,256), we found that older age is associated with lower well-being in countries higher in UA, but not in countries lower in UA, and this cultural variation is mediated by sense of control. In Study 2, we compared a low (United States) and high (Romania) UA culture (N=1,025) and found a consistent pattern; age is negatively associated with well-being in Romania but not the United States. This cultural difference is mediated by use of different coping strategies reflective of different levels of sense of control.

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