Culture and Social Support

Heejung S. Kim, David K. Sherman, Shelley E. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

681 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social support is one of the most effective means by which people can cope with stressful events. Yet little research has examined whether there are cultural differences in how people utilize their social support networks. A review of studies on culture and social support presents evidence that Asians and Asian Americans are more reluctant to explicitly ask for support from close others than are European Americans because they are more concerned about the potentially negative relational consequences of such behaviors. Asians and Asian Americans are more likely to use and benefit from forms of support that do not involve explicit disclosure of personal stressful events and feelings of distress. Discussion centers on the potential implications of these findings for intercultural interactions and for the use of mental health services by Asians and Asian Americans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-526
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume63
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Keywords

  • Asian Americans
  • coping
  • culture
  • social support
  • stress

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