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Cogn Emot. 2011 Nov;25(7):1263-72. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2010.541227. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

A longitudinal experimental study comparing the effectiveness of happiness-enhancing strategies in Anglo Americans and Asian Americans.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside, CA, USA. jboehm@hsph.harvard.edu

Abstract

Growing evidence suggests that well-being interventions can be effective. However, it is unclear whether happiness-increasing practices are equally effective for individuals from different cultural backgrounds. To investigate this question, Anglo Americans and predominantly foreign-born Asian Americans were randomly assigned to express optimism, convey gratitude, or list their past experiences (control group). Multilevel analyses indicated that participants in the optimism and gratitude conditions reported enhanced life satisfaction relative to those in the control condition. However, Anglo Americans in the treatment conditions demonstrated larger increases in life satisfaction relative to Asian Americans, while both cultural groups in the control condition showed the least improvement. These results are consistent with the idea that the value individualist cultures place on self-improvement and personal agency bolsters the efforts of Anglo Americans to become more satisfied, whereas collectivist cultures' de-emphasis of self-focus and individual goals interferes with the efforts of Asian Americans to pursue enhanced well-being.

PMID:
21432648
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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