Cultural differences in the impact of social support on psychological and biological stress responses

Shelley E. Taylor, William T. Welch, Heejung S. Kim, David K. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

277 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)831-837
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Volume18
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grant BCS-0338631. We are grateful to Bimal Rajkomar for conducting the pilot research that led to this investigation and to Sasha Kimel for helping to run the study.

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