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Cultural Differences in the Impact of Social Support on Psychological and Biological Stress Responses


Social support is believed to be a universally valuable resource for combating stress, yet Asians and Asian Americans report that social support is not helpful to them, resist seeking it, and are underrepresented among recipients of supportive services. We distinguish between explicit social support (seeking and using advice and emotional solace) and implicit social support (focusing on valued social groups) and show that Asians and Asian Americans are psychologically and biologically benefited more by implicit social support than by explicit social support; the reverse is true for European Americans. Our discussion focuses on cultural differences in the construal of relationships and their implications for social support and delivery of support services.

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