Cultural Differences in Support Provision: The Importance of Relationship Quality

Jacqueline M. Chen, Heejung S. Kim, David K. Sherman, Takeshi Hashimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Emotional expression is highly valued in individualistic cultures, whereas emotional restraint is prioritized in collectivistic cultures. We hypothesized that high-quality relationships in these cultures would exhibit the forms of support provision congruent with their respective expectations. Study 1 examined support transactions among friends in response to a laboratory stressor and found that objectively judged relationship quality (RQ) more strongly positively predicted emotion-focused support provision behaviors by European Americans than by Asian Americans. Study 2, a questionnaire study, found that self-reported RQ predicted emotion-focused support provision more strongly among European Americans than among Japanese. Study 3 investigated more indirect forms of support and found that RQ more strongly predicted worrying about and monitoring close others enduring stressors and spending time with them without talking about the stressor among Asian Americans compared with European Americans. These findings suggest that RQ is expressed in terms of support provision in culturally normative ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1575-1589
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © 2015 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.


  • caregiving
  • close relationships
  • culture/ethnicity
  • relationship quality
  • social support
  • social support provision


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