Culture and social support provision: Who gives what and why

Jacqueline M. Chen, Heejung S. Kim, Taraneh Mojaverian, Beth Morling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


The present research examined cultural differences in the type and frequency of support provided as well as the motivations underlying these behaviors. Study 1, an open-ended survey, asked participants about their social interactions in the past 24 hours and found that European Americans reported providing emotion-focused support more frequently than problem-focused support, whereas Japanese exhibited the opposite pattern. Study 2, a closed-ended questionnaire study, found that, in response to the close other's big stressor, European Americans provided more emotion-focused support whereas Japanese provided equivalent amounts of emotion-focused and problem-focused support. In addition, Study 2 examined motivational explanations for these differences. Social support provision was motivated by the goal of closeness and increasing recipient self-esteem among European Americans, but only associated with the motive for closeness among Japanese. These studies illustrate the importance of considering cultural context and its role in determining the meaning and function of various support behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • caregiving
  • culture
  • emotion-focused support
  • problem-focused support
  • social support provision


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