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The Psychology of Cultural Fit

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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01509

Culture Moderates the Relationship between Emotional Fit and Collective Aspects of Well-Being

  • 1Pennsylvania State University, United States

The present study examined how emotional fit with culture—the degree of similarity between an individual’ emotional response to the response of others from the same culture—relates to well-being in a sample of Asian American and European American college students. Using a profile correlation method, we calculated three types of emotional fit based on self-reported emotions, facial expressions, and physiological responses. We then examined the relationships between emotional fit and individual well-being (depression, life satisfaction) as well as collective aspects of well-being, namely collective self-esteem (one’s evaluation of one’s cultural group) and identification with one’s group. The results revealed that self-report emotional fit was associated with greater individual well-being across cultures. In contrast, culture moderated the relationship between self-report emotional fit and collective self-esteem, such that emotional fit predicted greater collective self-esteem in Asian Americans, but not in European Americans. Behavioral emotional fit was unrelated to well-being. There was a marginally significant cultural moderation in the relationship between physiological emotional fit in a strong emotional situation and group identification. Specifically, physiological emotional fit predicted greater group identification in Asian Americans, but not in European Americans. However, this finding disappeared after a Bonferroni correction. The current finding extends previous research by showing that, while emotional fit may be closely related to individual aspects of well-being across cultures, the influence of emotional fit on collective aspects of well-being may be unique to cultures that emphasize interdependence and social harmony, and thus being in alignment with other members of the group.

Keywords: emotional fit, cultural fit, Well-being, Collective self-esteem, Group identification, collective identity, culture

Received: 03 Jan 2018; Accepted: 31 Jul 2018.

Edited by:

Yulia Chentsova Dutton, Georgetown University, United States

Reviewed by:

Jessica Dere, University of Toronto Scarborough, Canada
Cynthia S. Levine, Northwestern University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Cho, Van Doren, Minnick, Albohn, Adams and Soto. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Jose Soto, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, United States, jas95@psu.edu