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Subjective wellbeing across cultures: why do differences exist? Daisung Jang and Do-Yeong Kim Department of Psychology, Macquarie University Sydney, Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "Subjective wellbeing across cultures: why do differences exist? Daisung Jang and Do-Yeong Kim Department of Psychology, Macquarie University Sydney, Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Subjective wellbeing across cultures: why do differences exist? Daisung Jang and Do-Yeong Kim Department of Psychology, Macquarie University Sydney, Australia NB. Please view via ‘Notes page’. You can then progress through the document using your mouse wheel, Page Down key, or the double-headed arrow to the right of this frame.

2 Collectivism and Individualism Triandis (1995, 2000) and Markus and Kitayama (1991,1994) Triandis (1995, 2000) and Markus and Kitayama (1991,1994) Collectivism Collectivism Importance of interpersonal relationships Importance of interpersonal relationships Tendency to rely or to be interdependent Tendency to rely or to be interdependent Individualism Individualism Importance of freedom and autonomy of the self Importance of freedom and autonomy of the self Social interactions characterised by expectation of fair exchange Social interactions characterised by expectation of fair exchange

3 Implicit and Explicit Wellbeing Do cross cultural differences exist in self reported and implicit appraisals of life satisfaction? Do cross cultural differences exist in self reported and implicit appraisals of life satisfaction? What is the nature of these differences in Asian and European Australians? What is the nature of these differences in Asian and European Australians? How can these differences be attributed to differences in culture? How can these differences be attributed to differences in culture?

4 Differences in Self Reported Wellbeing Personal versus collected sense of wellbeing Personal versus collected sense of wellbeing Culture is an organising framework that influences how people process information ( Kitayama, Duffy, Kawamura, & Larsen, 2003 ), then cross cultural differences in wellbeing may also be a result of differential processing of information relevant to wellbeing judgement Culture is an organising framework that influences how people process information ( Kitayama, Duffy, Kawamura, & Larsen, 2003 ), then cross cultural differences in wellbeing may also be a result of differential processing of information relevant to wellbeing judgement Diener ( 1984 ) proposed one such model in the way wellbeing may be differentially processed; top down and bottom up processes Diener ( 1984 ) proposed one such model in the way wellbeing may be differentially processed; top down and bottom up processes

5 Top down approach to life satisfaction Internal Criteria Life events Final score is achieved by comparison of internal criteria and life events Life events

6 Bottom up approach to life satisfaction Final score is achieved by integrating positivity / negativity of life events Life events

7 Implicit Notions of Wellbeing Self reported levels of wellbeing may be affected by culturally specific influences ( Kitayama & Uchida, 2003 ) Self reported levels of wellbeing may be affected by culturally specific influences ( Kitayama & Uchida, 2003 ) An implicit appraisal of wellbeing is one that is not only held against conscious decision, but also an appraisal that is made/accrued over time ( Kim, 2004 ) An implicit appraisal of wellbeing is one that is not only held against conscious decision, but also an appraisal that is made/accrued over time ( Kim, 2004 ) Implicit notions of wellbeing may provide a bias reduced way of assessing wellbeing Implicit notions of wellbeing may provide a bias reduced way of assessing wellbeing Simultaneous use of self reported and implicit (multimethod approach) levels of wellbeing may be useful in determining how cross cultural differences arise Simultaneous use of self reported and implicit (multimethod approach) levels of wellbeing may be useful in determining how cross cultural differences arise

8 Implicit Notions of Wellbeing If the evidence shows that culturally consistent notions of wellbeing are more important, then the degree to which implicit measures show / do not show similar patterns of results could add to the explanation of why cross cultural differences emerge If the evidence shows that culturally consistent notions of wellbeing are more important, then the degree to which implicit measures show / do not show similar patterns of results could add to the explanation of why cross cultural differences emerge

9 Manipulation Positive mood is also known to be important in consideration in judging life satisfaction in individualist and collectivist cultures ( Suh, Diener, Oishi, & Triandis, 1998 ) Positive mood is also known to be important in consideration in judging life satisfaction in individualist and collectivist cultures ( Suh, Diener, Oishi, & Triandis, 1998 ) Mood is known to be differently experienced across cultures ( Gross & John, 2003 ) Mood is known to be differently experienced across cultures ( Gross & John, 2003 ) Manipulation of positive mood in individual and collected contexts Manipulation of positive mood in individual and collected contexts

10 Research Questions How do differences in explicit and implicit wellbeing arise? How do differences in explicit and implicit wellbeing arise? Do culturally consistent notions of wellbeing exist in East Asian and European Australians? Do culturally consistent notions of wellbeing exist in East Asian and European Australians? Do implicit measures of wellbeing reflect such culturally laden notions such as personal/collected wellbeing? Do implicit measures of wellbeing reflect such culturally laden notions such as personal/collected wellbeing?

11 Method N=116 N= Asian Australians, 56 European Australians 60 Asian Australians, 56 European Australians Participants completed pen and paper ( Satisfaction with life scale; Diener et al ) as well as implicit measures of wellbeing ( ILS, Kim, 2004 ) Participants completed pen and paper ( Satisfaction with life scale; Diener et al ) as well as implicit measures of wellbeing ( ILS, Kim, 2004 ) Participants then underwent one of 2 manipulation conditions (individual or group manipulation of positive mood), or a control condition. Participants then underwent one of 2 manipulation conditions (individual or group manipulation of positive mood), or a control condition.

12 Method Positive mood induction Positive mood induction Modified Velten ( 1968 ) self statement task ( shortened, as used by Russell & Teasdale, 1983 ) Modified Velten ( 1968 ) self statement task ( shortened, as used by Russell & Teasdale, 1983 ) Positive mood induction lasted 6 minutes Positive mood induction lasted 6 minutes All self statements were modified for the group induction of positive mood; all “I” were altered to “We” All self statements were modified for the group induction of positive mood; all “I” were altered to “We” Controls did nothing for 6 minutes Controls did nothing for 6 minutes

13 Method After the manipulation, participants completed pen and paper measures of the same current mood and life satisfaction, as well as the ILS-G and ILS-U at the second time. After the manipulation, participants completed pen and paper measures of the same current mood and life satisfaction, as well as the ILS-G and ILS-U at the second time.

14 Results and Discussion Manipulation Effect on Self-Report SWB Measure European Australians Increase in reported life satisfaction Manipulation Condition Individual Group Control

15 Results and Discussion Increase in reported life satisfaction Manipulation Condition Individual Group Control Manipulation Effect on Self-Report SWB Measure Asian Australians

16 Results and Discussion As expected, a personal sense of wellbeing was more important in European Australians As expected, a personal sense of wellbeing was more important in European Australians However, simply feeling positive did not lead to an increase in life satisfaction However, simply feeling positive did not lead to an increase in life satisfaction European Australians were selective in their processing of information relevant to wellbeing European Australians were selective in their processing of information relevant to wellbeing May reflect a top down process in determining levels of wellbeing ( Diener, 1984 ) May reflect a top down process in determining levels of wellbeing ( Diener, 1984 )

17 Results and Discussion Unexpectedly, the group induction of positive mood was not more salient than the individual induction; both had similar effects on life satisfaction for Asian Australians Unexpectedly, the group induction of positive mood was not more salient than the individual induction; both had similar effects on life satisfaction for Asian Australians Asian Australians did not discriminate between contexts but referred to the relative positivity of the situation when judging life satisfaction Asian Australians did not discriminate between contexts but referred to the relative positivity of the situation when judging life satisfaction May be reflecting a bottom up approach to wellbeing judgement ( Diener, 1984 ). May be reflecting a bottom up approach to wellbeing judgement ( Diener, 1984 ).

18 Secondary Analysis Analyses also showed that for Asian Australians, time spent in Australia was associated with higher life satisfaction (r=. Analyses also showed that for Asian Australians, time spent in Australia was associated with higher life satisfaction (r=.33), more positive than negative levels of affect (r=. 30) and lower emotional suppression (r= -.29)

19 Discussion The length of time lived in Australia is associated with greater wellbeing for Asian Australians – why is this the case? The length of time lived in Australia is associated with greater wellbeing for Asian Australians – why is this the case? Scant literature on differences in migrant experience between US and Australia reveal a similar pattern: Scant literature on differences in migrant experience between US and Australia reveal a similar pattern: Rosenthal and Feldman (1990); McGrath et al. (2001) The length of time lived in Australia is associated with greater wellbeing for Asian Australians – why is this the case? The length of time lived in Australia is associated with greater wellbeing for Asian Australians – why is this the case?

20 Implications What people report about themselves is not necessarily directly comparable cross culturally What people report about themselves is not necessarily directly comparable cross culturally Culturally compatible notions of wellbeing exist in collectivist and individualist cultures Culturally compatible notions of wellbeing exist in collectivist and individualist cultures Implicit notions of wellbeing appear to be independent of temporarily induced culturally laden information relevant to wellbeing Implicit notions of wellbeing appear to be independent of temporarily induced culturally laden information relevant to wellbeing Australia has unique properties that does not result in a disparity of wellbeing in migrants Australia has unique properties that does not result in a disparity of wellbeing in migrants

21 NB 19/8/05 Since presentation of this data, the test sample was found to be heterogenous – The Asian Australian sample consisted of both permanent residents of Australia who had lived a considerable amount of their lives in Australia and overseas Chinese students. Since presentation of this data, the test sample was found to be heterogenous – The Asian Australian sample consisted of both permanent residents of Australia who had lived a considerable amount of their lives in Australia and overseas Chinese students. The two groups were found to respond to the manipulation differently, that is, permanent residents’ responses resembled European Australians’ responses and overseas Chinese showed a different pattern of response. The two groups were found to respond to the manipulation differently, that is, permanent residents’ responses resembled European Australians’ responses and overseas Chinese showed a different pattern of response.

22 NB 19/8/05 Decision was made to re-analyse data using only overseas Chinese participants, with more cases added to appropriately counterbalance n across sample groups. Decision was made to re-analyse data using only overseas Chinese participants, with more cases added to appropriately counterbalance n across sample groups. Results obtained using this homogenous sample revealed that overseas Chinese participants did not enhance their explicit SWB on individual manipulation of positive mood, but did so for group manipulation of positive mood. Implicit SWB did not alter as a function of manipulation. Results obtained using this homogenous sample revealed that overseas Chinese participants did not enhance their explicit SWB on individual manipulation of positive mood, but did so for group manipulation of positive mood. Implicit SWB did not alter as a function of manipulation.

23 NB 19/8/05 Overall picture of the results suggest a different explanation to the one previously discussed – for explicit SWB, a culture appropriate notion of SWB was apparent in the two samples (European Australian and Overseas Chinese). However, for implicit SWB, no such evidence was found. Overall picture of the results suggest a different explanation to the one previously discussed – for explicit SWB, a culture appropriate notion of SWB was apparent in the two samples (European Australian and Overseas Chinese). However, for implicit SWB, no such evidence was found. Cultures of comparable implicit SWB appear to articulate their level of wellbeing in different and culture appropriate ways. The type of stimulation required to experience SWB is determined by overarching cultural demands (‘cultural syndromes’, Triandis, 1998, 2001). Data also indicates that culture may be a determining factor in how people process information relevant to their SWB. Cultures of comparable implicit SWB appear to articulate their level of wellbeing in different and culture appropriate ways. The type of stimulation required to experience SWB is determined by overarching cultural demands (‘cultural syndromes’, Triandis, 1998, 2001). Data also indicates that culture may be a determining factor in how people process information relevant to their SWB.


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