Previous research suggests that the benefits of different types of social support depend on cultural background. However, cultural variations in the underlying motivations for seeking social support and the emotional implications of receiving support have not yet been clearly explored. We hypothesized and found that European Americans emphasized the motivation for self-esteem as a factor in deciding to seek explicit social support (e.g., advice, emotional comfort), whereas Japanese emphasized relational concerns as a factor in deciding to seek implicit social support (e.g., the emotional comfort experienced without disclosing one’s problems). Furthermore, European Americans anticipated experiencing strong feelings of self-esteem and pride regarding receiving support, whereas Japanese anticipated experiencing strong feelings of shame and guilt. Additionally, influence goals mediated cultural differences in the motivation for self-esteem and the experience of self-esteem and pride, whereas adjustment goals mediated cultural differences in relational concerns and the experience of shame and guilt.
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The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The research was supported by the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education.
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.
- influence and adjustment
- relational concerns
- social support seeking