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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pursuit of comfort and pursuit of harmony: Culture, relationships, and social support seeking

  • Author(s): Kim, HS
  • Sherman, DK
  • Ko, D
  • Taylor, SE
  • et al.

This research examined whether people from collectivistic cultures are less likely to seek social support than are people from individualistic cultures because they are more cautious about potentially disturbing their social network. Study 1 found that Asian Americans from a more collectivistic culture sought social support less and found support seeking to be less effective than European Americans from a more individualistic culture. Study 2 found that European Americans' willingness to seek support was unaffected by relationship priming, whereas Asian Americans were willing to seek support less when the relationship primed was closer to the self. Study 3 replicated the results of Study 2 and found that the tendency to seek support and expect social support to be helpful as related to concerns about relationships. These findings underscore the importance of culturally divergent relationship patterns in understanding social support transactions. © 2006 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

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