Interpreting a Helping Hand: Cultural Variation in the Effectiveness of Solicited and Unsolicited Social Support

Taraneh Mojaverian, Heejung S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research has shown that Asians/Asian Americans are less likely to seek social support to deal with stressful situations than European Americans. Two studies examined the effectiveness of two types of social support: support that is sought directly (solicited support) and support received without prompting from the recipient (unsolicited support). It was theorized that receiving unsolicited support may reinforce social belonging and relational ties, whereas soliciting support may pose relational threats for Asian Americans. In contrast, European Americans may be less affected by type of support received. The first study examined culture (European American vs. Asian American) and type of social support (solicited vs. unsolicited) on stress responses to a task in a lab setting. The second study used vignettes of possible stressors with unsolicited or solicited coping techniques. Results supported our hypothesis, with Asian Americans reporting better outcomes from unsolicited support and European Americans showing little difference between support types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-99
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • culture
  • social support
  • solicited support
  • support receipt
  • unsolicited support

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